Culinary no-no #536


“There are few things better in life than sitting down at a comfortable establishment at the end of a long day of pushing words around the Internet, ordering your first cocktail, watching the bartender skillfully make it with a steady hand, and then taking that first icy, boozy sip.”

I would agree.

What makes a good drinking establishment? There are lots of opinions. Consider what New York bartender Michael Neff wrote for

“Anyone can sign a lease, apply for a liquor license, and open their doors. What distinguishes really good places from those that are drab and ordinary is often a passion on the part of the owners or staff for something very specific. Maybe there are 40 beers on tap. Maybe the jukebox is stocked with every British Guitar Pop band from 1960 to 1980. Maybe they offer every expression from every distillery on Islay.

“It takes real bravery and an honest love to tie the success of your bar to the public’s interest in whatever your passion happens to be, which can make the experience of going to these places special for regulars and strangers alike.”

Sounds like Neff is looking for innovation and creativity.

We’ll come back to that in a bit.

I would submit appealing characteristics of a nice cocktail joint would be atmosphere and intimacy.

The Lower Lounge

That’s Milwaukee’s oldest (and best) cocktail lounge, Bryant’s on the city’s south side, just one block north of Mitchell Street, often referred to in the past as the south side’s Wisconsin Avenue.

In my very late teens to mid-20’s I took many a date to Bryant’s, with a 100% record of dates being impressed. YES!

Can’t wait to go back someday, but it’s tough when you have an 8-year old. 🙂

Never had a chance to take Mrs. Fischer there. But we’ve been to other great spots.

Like the Velvet Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel in Universal Orlando.

Photo of Velvet Bar - Orlando, FL, United States

Hip. Cool.

Compare Bryant’s, the Velvet Bar, and any lounge or bar you enjoy to a mysterious place that opened in Brooklyn about six months ago but is just now getting press coverage.  No surprise that this unique concept originated on one of the coasts.

The Threesome Tollbooth is the brainchild of N.D. Austin and Jesse Sheidlower.  A friend of Austin’s challenged him to concoct an idea to help him impress and win back his estranged wife. The answer was a bar located inside a supply closet of a shuttered restaurant. Its name comes from the miniature size, only big enough to hold two patrons and a bartender. Like one of these:

The Gothamist provides details:

Note that the space-owning comes at a steep price—it costs $100-$120 per person, per hour, to visit…How it works, according to the lucky few who’ve gotten to check the space out, is this: you make a reservation online. Austin emails you the address and he or Sheidlower will meet you and escort you into the space. Then, you’re invited to sip five or six mini-cocktails, whipped up with creative spirits and served in antique glassware. It’s an intimate experience not for the anthropophobic, but it sounds like a baller date move, should you have the cash.

The NY Times reports:

Mr. Sheidlower said the tightness of the Tollbooth has had interesting effects on the clientele. Some have taken a seat and suddenly confessed to sexual peccadilloes; others have fallen into rapt silence.

Admittedly I was initially intrigued. However it didn’t take long for me to sour on this kind of enterprise.

Too expensive.

Too tight.

No atmosphere.

And nowhere near what I would consider a spot to take a woman in an effort to impress her.


The worst drinks to order at a bar

One thought on “Culinary no-no #536

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (10/23/17) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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