Honor Bar - Emeryville
- Robert Lauriston Jan 11, 2012 12:43 PM
The former Bavarian Village / Sushi Village at 1411 Powell has been taken over by the Beach Chalet / Park Chalet group. It's licensed as a restaurant, and has a menu, but there's a sign on the door that says 21 and over only.
Stopped in for a drink the other night, and can confirm that has food but says "21 and over only." The Honor Bar refers to a big tub of bottled beer on ice near the entrance which you can serve yourself from and tell your server or bartender what you've consumed. Food prices seem reasonable, $3.5-10 for snacks and apps, some mains in the $12+ range. Cocktails $10, 10-12 named specialties. $6 "punches." The two I sampled compared well with the programs at Camino and Pizzaiolo/Boot and Shoe, though the latter seem like they have a bit more of a "house made/artisanal" focus.
No doubt I'll check it out further, as I can literally have a drink while waiting for a gel to run or a Western to probe. Not that I do too much of either these days.
Decor dim, dark and red. Vaguely 50's. I like the synthetic stone or whatever the bar is made of.
We checked out Honor Bar mid-week early in the evening and quite liked it. The low-lit space with a big central bar and a few tables leaves lots of room for standing and drinking which was not necessary at this early hour. Staff are friendly and they make top notch drinks in the modern (many ingredients and green herb garnishes) style. Bar food staples like sliders and fried chicken are tasty if not ground breaking. I fear that the honor system beer bucket and the knick knacks spread around the room will tempt those who swipe stuff from bars ( a few drinks and oops, there goes the moral compass) but we shall see. Meanwhile, if you can figure out the parking (approach from the west or circle the block, but it ain't easy gettin' in), this is a fun new place for a drink and some snacks
The handcut Kennebec fries ($3.50) are pretty great. They're cut thick, served piping hot and very salty. Some of the best I've had in a while (reminiscent of the Tadich long branch potatoes, though not as crispy). Oysters were fresh and reasonably priced at $20/doz. Interesting cocktails, friendly atmosphere and we even scored a table on Friday@6p. I'd go back at a different time to see how it changes.
2014 Update --
I have to say that I really like Honor Bar, although apparently so does everyone else, as Friday nights can be very difficult to get a spot to grab a drink and a bite (much easier around 5 during the week!). The cocktails remain very good. I am not fond of the "Honor"-branded beers (I think they are still made by Beach Chalet folks), but appreciate that there is a permanent Almanac handle for very good sours. Food-wise, it tends to veer on the rich side, but still impressive for bar food. Had a good grilled Caesar salad the other night, along with a very tasty chicken leg "lollipop" (confit, then fried, dowsed in bacon/onion/bbq) and good pork belly sliders. The sous vide octopus was tough. Best thing remains the bucket o' yard birds -- half fried game hen with an excellent biscuit. Add good music and a pinball machine and it is a pretty nice night. BUT LOUD.