Even the East coast is acknowledging the E’ville vibe. It’s a bit of a backlash against the pretentious “Mixology” trend over the last few years when every bar was serving exotic, trendy, cocktails at “in the know” establishments. Prizefighter offers simple, straight-forward versions of classic cocktails & craft beers without all the posturing.
Queue Portlandia Mixologist skit:
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Opened in 2011 after the legendary Kitty’s “riot” forced its closure, the libation pro’s behind Bourbon & Branch & Bloodhound stepped in to preserve Emeryville’s limited nightlife scene. Since then, the addition of Honor Bar (recently changed to “Honor Kitchen & Cocktails” because of the threat of litigation from a similarly named Beverly Hills establishment) has made its mark as well.
I personally love Prizefighter because it’s one of the few dog-friendly establishments in a city where seemingly half the residents have them (more on that subject in a future post). Enjoying a cold beverage with my pooch on their patio on a warm day is very satisfying. Prizefighter: It’s always good to report when the “local boy makes good”!
NY Times Dining & Wine Section
Prizefighter, a bar in the Bay Area, doesn’t look like much at first glance. It’s in a boxy brick building with a lot of space but not much in the way of distinctive décor. It’s not even in San Francisco, but in Emeryville, a small community in the East Bay.
If you hang out long enough, however, you notice things. The back bar is impressive, with dozens of whiskeys, tequilas and rums. If you venture beyond beer, you’ll find the daiquiri is beautifully wrought, and the old-fashioned is excellent. They ought to be. That man fixing your drink is Jon Santer, who was among the opening staff at Bourbon and Branch, one of San Francisco’s fanciest cocktail dens.
Over the last decade, bartenders around the country have created a cocktail culture of exquisite drinks and exclusive digs — hidden speakeasies that require a seat reservation to get in, and lavish, library-like barrooms where drinks are contemplated with hushed seriousness or marveled at like circus acts.
Prizefighter is part of what is shaping up as a fresh chapter for high-end mixology: a new breed of cocktail bar that seeks to retain the profession’s hard-won artistry while shedding the pretensions that often come with it. These bars — which include Mother’s Ruin in the NoLIta neighborhood of Manhattan, Evelyn in the East Village and Basik and Lighthouse BK in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — have no secret entrances. Their outdoor signs are easy to spot. Standing at the bar is allowed. Canned beer is often an option. And they aim to be neighborhood places rather than destinations, just as most bars traditionally have. | More on NYTimes.com →
Note: Use the commenting below if your fave is not listed. I’ve omitted chain restaurant-bars & places that primarily serve as restaurants … sorry Trader Vic’s & Townhouse!