Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the soft opening of Barrelhouse Flat.
At first glance, this is a much less austere cousin of Violet Hour brought to you by none other than Stephen Cole of the aforementioned Violet Hour and Greg Buttera of Aviary. The windows are still boarded up, but inside the vibe is warm and unpretentious. We got there on the early side for the neighbors event, so we got to chat with the bartenders, specifically Dante and Greg. They took us through the specialty cocktail menu, which is enormous. They offer two full pages of creations made from each alcohols they feature… that would be Whiskeys, Rums, Gins and Brandies and “Others” (on top of that, each category has rubrics consisting of Stirred, Shaken, Bubbles and Egg)
I was ill (recovering from strep) at the time, so couldn’t sample too much liquor, but was able to make my first meal in days out of the Sweetbread Bites they have on menu that came with a lovely dipping sauce from their open kitchen. Other options for nibbling were the Pig Face Poutine, Double Deviled Eggs, Seasonal Pate, A (very large) Porchetta Sandwich and a lovely array of Dips (roasted red pepper and pepper and chorizo, snappy cheese, smoked trout, chipotle sweet potato and carmelized onion). You pick three for $12 and can expect to enjoy yourself for at least 45 minutes! Also available were a Salad and a Bleu Cheese and Mushroom Beignet!
They have some great craft beers on draft and a few select wines available, but the real appeal is the cocktail menu that has been a long time in the making. It’s 8 pages long!
I was interested in a local gin (North Shore) which was scented with lavender so the bartender let me sample it along side the gin they normally use in the cocktail I ordered (The Clover Club). They normally would use a Beefeater… A gin I love. But since I was interested, he let me use one as a sounding board for the other, and I decided upon the local gin for my cocktail.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience. Right before we left, someone started tinkering on a piano I hadn’t noticed until then, which made me even more upset that I had to leave! I hope to go back, and I thank Greg and Dante for their kind attention and hospitality! What a wonderful evening, even at my own half capacity with strep throat barely on the outs.