Tips for sitting at the bar at Craigie on Main?
We're hoping to have a casual Saturday night enjoying some food and drinks at the Craigie on Main bar on Sat night....have a few questions though:
1) Does the bar get packed quickly and early? I know it's a Sat night so I expect it to be busy, however if we're there by 7 will we be ok?
2) Definitely planning on trying the burger based on hounds recs here...any other standouts from the bar menu? Or, for that matter, from the regular menu as well (if we can also order from that, at the bar?)
3) Cocktail standouts?
Any other advice you can offer is much appreciated. It's a rare night out for us without the little one so we want to make the best of it :)
Arrive immediately at 5:30 (or even 5:20) or wait until 11 to arrive if you want to be able to get seats right away. Otherwise, you can stand and wait for seats to open. It's a bit of a crapshoot. You may have to wait 15-20 minutes or it may be an hour. Arriving at 7 would be a good time for a changeover from the first group of 5:30 diners, but a lot of people show up during those normal dinner hours (7-8:30).
Definitely get the burger. Everything else is good, so just go with what you think you will like. The octopus is very very good.
For cocktails - I would just talk to Tommy and let him guide you. He is incredible. The menu drinks are tasty, but often a bit weak for me. Tommy has rarely steered me wrong when going off menu, though.
I really enjoyed the Northern Lights cocktail. The burger is great, and while I have a pretty huge appetite, I was pretty stuffed - we had a couple of complimentary treats, tea infused panna cottas and a rhubard/yogurt foam palate cleanser. Wasn't a huge fan of the Taza chocolate mousse with olive oil, and probably would've gone with a fruit dessert had I read up a bit in advance.
It sounds like you want to literally sit at the bar and not just in the bar area BUT you could also take the timing pressure off and just make a reservation for the bar side and still get your burger and cocktail!
That bar is never not packed except when it first opens.
In my experience, the bar staff manages the at-the-bar seating for walk-ins, so let them know you'd like two seats at the bar when you arrive, and they'll hook you up with the first available and manage the queue of standing patrons. Making reservations is a better idea, of course.
Your drink options are pretty wide open. I'd suggest a quick conversation with the bartender about what spirits you typically drink and some flavor direction (tart/citrusy, savory/bitter, etc.) and let them choose something for you: really fun, and I've never had a less-than-terrific cocktail there.
If you can eat both the burger and an appetizer the crispy fried pig tails are to die for. My wife turned her nose up at them when I ordered them, but she asked me for a second piece after I talked her into having a first piece. I agree that you should talk to Tom (bespectacled gentleman who runs the bar) for whichever libations you like, and he'll steer you to some amazing cocktails. The Northern Lights is also one of my favorite drinks there. Enjoy!
potato galette is a standout, also their bone marrow if you like that. Sablefish if they have it on special (they did last night). not so much a fan of their steak or brussel sprouts. ask them for the Threadneedle (w/ their house peach brandy instead of the original house juniper brandy which they;re out of), they also make a mean 1919 cocktail (they can also split cocktails if you ask nicely ;) If Tom is working (and not too busy), the flaming tiki drink is a special treat!