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Casual observances from a craft cocktail bar

By Jane HaglApril 10, 2017

Cocktail bar
Cocktail bar

Sandwiched between a clothing boutique and a bridesmaids dress shop, you can walk past the bar and not even notice. That’s perfect, though. The nondescript exterior is made up for by the interior.

The back wall is almost entirely made of a floor to ceiling backlighted shelves filled with liquor. A dark mahogany u-shaped bar stage-center takes most of the space. Deep purple velvet, tufted bench wraps around two walls, providing limited seating. Low lights, dark wood, black cement floor and dark furniture added to the moody speakeasy atmosphere.

It is a little after 5 o’clock, so the crowd is really made up of people who are fortunate enough to get out of work early. There are three women huddling around a cocktail table talking about a workmate who isn’t pulling her weight. A couple and a set of parents sit on the low bench. I opt for a seat the bar. A chair separates a middle-aged couple that probably lives in the neighborhood and me. He is swirling what remains of his old fashioned and she sips on a French 75.

There are two mixologists working the bar. Jesse, wearing thick-framed glasses, a checkered shirt, suspenders and hands me a book filled with only liquor and cocktails. Rosemary, thyme, basil, orange, lemon, lime, blackberries, strawberries, pumpkin—really anything in a produce aisle seemed to be fair game for an ingredient. It is a true cocktail bar. A drink made well is the focus and that is it.

Rosemary, thyme, basil, orange, lemon, lime, blackberries, strawberries, pumpkin—really anything in a produce aisle seemed to be fair game for an ingredient.

 

I order an old fashioned and sit back to watch the show. Jesse places a frosted glass with a round ice, a sliver of orange peel and liquor in front of me. I take a sip. The warm whiskey trickles down my throat. 

“How is it?” he asks.

“Strong,” I replied.

“Good.” he smiled and walked over to the couple who had replaced the earlier couple.

There is a ladder propped against the great wall of alcohol. The other bartender hopped on and began to slide in Belle-fashion down the wall until he stopped at the right alcohol. He scampered down and slid the bottle down to Jesse. He went back to the ladder and slide to the wall. He opened a hidden door, located foot from the ceiling and disappeared into another room.

“Where did he go?” I asked no one in particular.

He came out as I had finished my drink. Jesse appeared out of nowhere and asked what I wanted.

“Just more of the same.”