The Barrelhouse Flats takes classic to a new level
Think outside of the barrel-that’s the concept at The Barrelhouse Flat. It serves its neighborhood of Lincoln Park in Chicago very well. This relatively new hot mixology spot gives new meaning to “finely crafted.” As soon as I stepped into the bar, I was greeted with a handshake by well-known mixologist Steve Cole. I ask, “What’s a recommended favorite?” Smiling, he pushes a leather bound book and says, “Everything.”
Steve knows how to work a bar well and never compromises on service. After watching him makes a couple of cocktails, it’s no wonder why his precision is so well known in the city.
The intense cocktail menu is not one to be reckoned with…it’s more than just a page. Rather than listing the drinks and their contents, this bar goes further. One section for the “shaken” and another for the “stirred.” Cocktail enthusiasts don’t need James Bond to know what each term means, but that’s not all. Find “shaken” and “stirred” for each type of liquor from brandies to gins and even those with egg and bubblies. Needless to say, The Barrelhouse Flat has one of the most extensive craft cocktail menus of its kind.
With my preference being gin, I opted for the “shaken” Bliz’s Royal Rickey. It’s a bubbly complete with London Gin (preferred brand,) sweet vermouth, lime, raspberry syrup, ginger beer and angostura bitters. I was very impressed with just one sip. It was a pop sensation that nips at the palette. You won’t find many drinks with fancy names here. Many are eclectic takes on classics. Once I finished my amazing Royal Ricky, I reached for the “cocktail bible.” I perused the rum section and ordered a mai tai. Yes, a mai tai. The cocktail that many only sip on the beach and was probably one of first drinks ever tried in a lifetime. However, the charming couple sitting next to me swore by it. At first taste, I was sold. What makes this drink unlike any other mai tai is the orange curacao and orgeat syrup.
When you seek to the barrel, it definitely delivers.