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Neighborhood Bar Bistro 218

The Bar at Bistro 218 pairs a casual menu with lush libations.

By Jan Walsh // Photography by Beau Gustafson

Bistro 218 has been one of my favorite restaurants ever since it opened in 2013. Here chef Tom Saab sources the freshest, highest quality, local and regional non-GMO products and prepares each one to its fullest potential. It is also a favorite of many who live and work in the neighborhood and beyond. So when Saab expanded next door to create a new space for bar dining, he doubled our pleasure. We enjoy The Bar at Bistro 218’s more casual ambience and menu offerings.

The Bar’s high-ceilinged, exposed-brick interior includes a massive L-shaped bar with a 700-bottle wine cellar. There is window seating and a banquette lining the brick wall. In addition to The Bar’s dinner menu, lunch is also served here, and the dining room’s dinner menu is also available. We lunch here on shrimp risotto and spend casual evenings with a burger and a beer. And we plan a drink at the Bar before entering the dining room for dinner.

Tonight, we take seats at The Bar for a cocktail tasting of three of Bistro 218’s specialty libations: Sweet Tallulah, Wayne Rogers, and Lemon Russo with bar manager Tim O’Rourke. Sweet Tallulah is a light and sparkling wine cocktail that also includes St. Germain, Lillet, a splash of rose water and lemon. It is deep red in color and served in a Champagne flute with a Bing cherry on bottom. Lemon Russo is a festive, on-the-rocks lowball of vodka, lemon, and ginger beer with a sprinkling of black pepper. Fizzy notes of lemon and ginger are offset by occasional bites of pepper. Wayne Rogers is a serious spirit for whiskey drinkers. Maker’s Mark, Dom De Canton, muddled orange, angostura and orange bitters blend beautifully in this smooth and mellow mix. Afterwards we decide to stay for an impromptu dinner at the bar—dining on enormous, succulent scallops and watermelon salad paired with Champagne.

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