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Oct 30, 2010 10:16 AM

The Perfect Bar...

In the perfect bar you always bump into someone you know. The bartenders must be male and wear black pants, white shirt and bow tie. The rest of the wait staff are a mixture of men and women. It includes eight beers on tap, two hand-drawn cask conditioned. One tap must be Guinness. The rest are a rotation of Belgium and Microbrews. They have large cocktail onions and caper berries for martini's. The bar has a limited menu but everything is outstanding. Nothing over $10 bucks. They are known for thier hamburgers and chilli. Homemade soups of the day. It's name is one word. The jukebox always has Frank Sinatra and Paul Westerberg. All of the bar stools have backs. The bar is child friendly untill 8 pm. There are no TV's or arcade games. The owners live upstairs. Its near a train station...

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  1. blue cheese olives must be at this perfect bar, and know how to make a margarita.

    1. I am in love with your posited bar and want to go sometime. Would that we had anything close to this in my neck o' the woods, but locally bars seem to be skewed towards pretentious and upscale ( I am NOT paying ten dollars for a libation.) or complete, scared-to-go-there dives. In a perfect world, though, it does sound like a great place to be.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mamachef

        A cosy atmosphere with comfortable seats. Interesting music in a variety of styles, but not rap or heavy metal, and at a volume so you can hear it, but you can still carry on a conversation without shouting.

        Non smoking, and ideally with a non smoking patio as well. Moderately busy, but enough room for people to sit comfortably rather than having to stand.

        The bartenders can wear whatever they like and be whatever genders they like, as long as they are competent, friendly without being overly familiar, and chosen for bartending ability and knowledge rather than physical assets.

        A good variety of good beer, including local microbrews and a variety of different styles and nationalities. The selection should go beyond the obvious choices. For example, there should be Belgian beers beyond Duvel. Bonus points if they serve something that tastes like beer mixed with vinegar and lemon juice, and tactfully ask if I've had it before when I order it.

        Little emphasis on trendy cocktails - the cocktails offered should be well made, and made with good quality ingredients, but no list of twenty things that end in -tini simply because they are served in a martini glass. And no more than one flavoured vodka on the bar.

        No shooters. Shooters are mainly for getting drunk, and my ideal bar would be more for people who are interested in relaxing, talking, having a bite to eat and a few drinks, but not getting more than cheerfully tipsy.

        Food good enough that I'd order it in a place that didn't serve alcohol. Traditional pub food is good - ploughman's lunch, fish and chips, chicken wings, hamburgers, but they should be able to make a good soup of the day and a decent salad. There should be an appealing selection of non alcoholic beverages for the non drinkers.

        And, importantly, walking distance from my apartment, or a cheap cab ride home.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. In mine, the bar is non-smoking, bartenders are female, with open collared shirts. Nix the hipster cask conditioned stuff for at least one domestic beer, and never a prepackaged mix for margaritas. The dispensers must pour real Ginger ale, sprite, and coke, not the soda company's overly sweetened approximations. Oh, and cell signals are blocked

          9 Replies
            1. re: Chinon00

              Cask is beer geek. PBR is hipster.

              1. re: Chinon00

                Okay, maybe I have cliques mixed up. I was thinking trendy urbanites who glom onto the latest thing, the latest places to see and be seen, and then onto the next "look at me", driveby, affectation of the day. The kind of jerk who'd be escorted out of passa's bar immediately

              2. re: Gatogrande

                Hipsters don't drink cask, they drink cheap.

                1. re: jollyinebriate

                  Not where I live. You will NEVER see hipsters at $1 Corona bottle night at {fill in the
                  anonymous faux-Irish pub}. Their main hangs are dive bars (yes cheap) AND urban, neighborhood craft beer bars (w/ and w/o cask).

                    1. re: jollyinebriate

                      What are the hipster hangouts like in Toronto.

                    2. re: Chinon00

                      My experience in Toronto sounds much like what you describe, Chinon - while there are plenty of hipsters sucking back PBR in cans at the so-called "dives" around Queen West and Ossington, I've also seen plenty of them at Rhino and Volo. Of course, none of them THINK they are hipsters, regardless of what they are drinking.

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        hipsters usually ruin good dive bars by slowly turning them into even worse student hipster hangouts until they eventually completely give up and only serve huge cheap pitchers of Molson X

                        in Montreal cheap hipster beer is Boreale.... PBR is for the hipsters that like to hang around the train tracks on a hot summer night drinking beer in cans til early morning listening to beat up copies of Johnny Cash and Van Dyke Parks on a battery operated portable turntable

                  1. don't forget the martinis are made with gin, using a proper amount of vermouth (none of this mist, barely coating the ice cubes, and definitely not the 'ooking in the direction of the vermouth bottle'), and they're stirred.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: jgg13

                      Here, here!

                      If you want cold gin, ask for cold gin, @$#^^@$%!. If you want a martini, its supposed to have vermouth in it, and you are supposed to be able to taste it...that's what makes it a martini! 4-to1 for me, please. Bombay Sapphire.Vermouth is Noilly Prat, it goes without saying...

                      1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                        And I was advised by a bartender that a good martini gets nothing but a twist, no other fruit or vegetable.

                        1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                          "If you want cold gin, ask for cold gin, @$#^^@$%!" Double AYYY-men. And as the late great bon vivant Lucius Beebe declared, "Anything over five to one is just iced gin!"

                          The finest bar we've found yet blows the OP's parameters a bit: it has a two-word name (Harrison House) and the cocktails are uniformly $11 each. They will also serve nobody who is not seated. However, our waitress knew as much about the drinks as the bartenders did, and the martini made to their house formula (Plymouth gin, a brand of vermouth I can't remember, and house-made orange bitters) was about the nicest cocktail I've ever had anywhere.

                          That one place aside, I do like a less formal approach, and I'll be happy with a very good martini (as opposed to perfect, but still astonishingly hard to come by) if there's a good stock of other interesting boozes and some good reasonably-priced wines. A jolly crowd of regulars who welcome congenial newbies is always a good sign. Someone at the piano, maybe, or a small jazz trio playing standards, not loud. And everyone is using his or her Indoors Voice...

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            First tasted Plymouth Gin in Cornwall, England. Mmm.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Yeah, I think I gotta get me some. And try it with Lillet instead of vermouth... okay, that's another thing: the bartender MUST be willing to accommodate experiments without getting snotty about it, and have the wherewithal and skill to do so. Any "fancy" gin that isn't Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray can be hard to get in too many bars, and as for Lillet I had to just buy a bottle.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                Have never tasted Lillet. Will check it out.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I love it. Lillet Blanc (there is a Rouge), chilled, with a wedge of lime.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Well, lady, if YOU recommend it, I shall be buying. Anything with a wedge of lime sounds good.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      It's a great aperitif before dinner and a bottle of red wine! And doesn't quite pack the punch of a martini or gimlet, though sometimes that punch is needed.

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        We'll be in DC in a couple of weeks. I'll order one. And feel, oh so, sophisticated :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Lillet Blanc on the rocks with a twist of orange. Yummmm.

                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                            the Rouge is quite refreshing, and pretty too....

                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                      Finally had this for the first time yesterday. I loved it. Pre-lunch. I am definitely picking up a bottle. Thanks for the rec.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        You are most welcome -- glad you enjoyed it!

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                I love Plymouth but recently happened upon Bell Ringer for about half the price. It's spicier than Plymouth and not quite as smooth, but makes an oh so delicious martini. Obviously, I recommend it highly.