We went, not knowing it had only recently opened. We had to wait to get in (occupancy), and were carded outside -- the first time in a decade or two. The hostess took our name and told us it would be 40 minutes. We found a place to stand at the upper bar. Their beer menu was huge. They had a small selection of unchallenging craft cocktails (using good ingredients). I spied Pimms and Campari and ordered a cocktail of my own making (equal parts gin, Campari, and Pimm's with a half part of lemon juice). The bartender made them without complaint, despite the crowd. The lemon sort of got lost in the noise, which was fine. The lower bar had a good selection of whiskies on the backbar. Alas, the rail gin is New Amsterdam. My feeling is that their bar program seems serious about craft cocktails and will probably improve. The cocktail prices were very fair -- cheap even. I would like to explore their vast craft beer offerings sometime.
Our table was soon ready, and somehow the hostess found us in the packed restaurant. We sat at a nice high-top. The food menu is light creative pub. We ordered a selection of starters, but there were good-looking burgers, gussied-up Mac&Cheese, ribs, and (oddly) pad thai. I think the menu could use a bit of focusing.
The pork belly taco was outstanding. The fried calamari came with fruit (supposed to be mango, but tasted more like unripe pineapple) was ok - a bit sweet for my taste and unevenly coated. Well cooked, though. The mussels were cooked perfectly and delicious, but the broth was too salty to sop up. The elote (corn on the cob with cheese) was way overcooked, but it was also overcooked when we had it in Mexico. The pea salad was tasty and used interesting greens, but needed salt. The white bean hummus was very good, but it seemed like they ran out of good bread and toasted a very white-bread baguette.
The atmosphere was very cheerful, crowded, noisy, and fun. And young. Their walk-in beer cooler was neat, but the fluorescent light glare was annoying. They should tint the glass. Service was attentive and friendly, if a bit frazzled.
I think the tavern has great potential. It was supposedly only their second day (or maybe it was the bartender's second day -- not sure). There are some rough edges to work out.
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