Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Longitude: upscale Tiki in Oakland

Last week was the Death March of the Liver known as RSA week in San Francisco.

The trip started with getting some work done in my favorite co-working space in the city, Vesuvio.  I know many will think a bar to be less than ideal for productivity, but these people are probably used to being wrong.

After a few hours at Vesuvio, it was time to regroup and head over the bridge to Oakland to try out a relatively new place, Longitude.


Longitude is best described as an upscale Tiki bar, probably because that’s what it is- but it is more, your non-Tiki-loving friends (why are these people your friends exactly?) will find a solid craft cocktail program and good selection beyond the Tiki realms.  The Tiki menu is a mix of well-executed classics and inventive new takes on Tiki.  Longitude also has a tasty selection of appetizers and even a few classic British meals on the menu.



Friday, April 10, 2015

kybecca and coffee, Fredericksburg, VA

I found this gem on a recent trip.  kybecca started life as a wine place, and over the years has evolved into a full restaurant with a killer wine list and solid bar program.  I had some fantastic drinks and good conversation thanks to Calvin, a great bartender.  And I had some very good shrimp and grits- not as good as mine, of course, but very good indeed.  (For reference: the recipe for mine starts with 24 ounces of smoked uncured bacon, and ends hours later with two pounds of wild-caught shrimp).

I sat at the bar as I often do when traveling, my fellow barflies all seemed to enjoy their food and drink as well.  Worth the trip if you are in the area.  And say hi to Calvin for me, he’s a master at his craft.

And in the morning, head over to Hyperion Espresso for some great coffee and morning munchies- and a little local chatter.  It is just a block down the road from kybecca.  You will really appreciate Hyperion if you enjoyed a few more cocktails than you planned at kybecca and didn’t stay well hydrated.  So I’ve heard.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fells Point, Baltimore

Another overdue post where I don’t give places the review they deserve, but here goes.

The Fells Point area of Baltimore is loaded with bars and restaurants, many of which seem to cater to the “WOOO let’s get DRUNK!” crowd- but there are also some great places in the area.  This list is by no means comprehensive, but I stand by it.  I have three places I can count on for craft cocktails, two of which serve god food, and one just plain dive bar.  Be aware that parking can be ugly in the area, so find a decent place to park and wander, don’t plan on moving your car.  Or, of course, take a taxi and then you don’t face parking annoyances or risk that “walking around for hours to sober up” problem.

Probably best known is Bad Decisions, a fun place with an awesome name for a bar.  They have a very good drinks menu and are happy to go off-menu to make great drinks.  They serve a pub-style food menu, with some creativity.  Oh, and they love bacon.  It is a popular place, so be patient if it is packed.  To recap: great drinks, bacon, and it’s called Bad Decisions.

I’ve mentioned Rye before, it is a very good craft cocktail bar.  Rye doesn’t serve food, and doesn’t cater to the WOOO…DRUNK crowd, so it is often less crowded than other bars in the area.  If it is quiet, the bartenders are often up for conversations about cocktails and the craft.

Fork and Wrench which bills itself as a “boutique dive bar”, has some cool industrial d├ęcor, a great bar program, and good food. It is too clean and fancy for a real dive bar, but it is too laid back and industrial to be overly “boutique”, but the food menu is serious.  They strike a pretty good balance in my opinion.

Last, and some might say least, is 1919.  Dive bar.  Period.  If you know and love dive bars, you’ll like 1919.  If you don’t like dive bars you won’t like it.  But if you don’t like dive bars I wonder why you’re reading this blog.

The two furthest points on this list are Rye and Fork and Wrench, a mere .6 miles apart.  If you wander from one to the other and stop at Bad Decisions and/or 1919 (which are practically across the street from each other), the route jumps to a whopping 7/10ths of a mile.