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Mar 1, 2012 07:00 PM

The Rellik Tavern – One of the best bars in the Bay Area [Benicia]

Where else can you get absinthe at 7 am on a Thursday morning? Coming soon will be house-made wild boar chili.

The Rellik Tavern is a coffee lounge in the AM, but they will serve anything on their menu … food and cocktails.

So I cruised in at 9:30 am, ordered a cappuccino, a ham and cheese croissant and fell in love.

I left somewhere around one after having enjoyed an excellent margarita, lovely asian

pear cocktail and fish and curly fries (served in a wire cone lined with paper.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but open the door and it says “Come in and stay a while”. On one side of the restaurant, comfy couches divide that area into four conversation areas.

A long 22 seat bar lines the other half with four large screen tvs that can be viewed from every seat in the house without being obtrusive.

Who needs the TV’s? This is the bar you always wish you could walk into eavesdropping on interesting conversations about life, politics … and good food !!! All this before noon.

There are 22 beers on tap. They are on the waiting list for Pliny the Younger which only sells to existing customers. They have hopes some day they will finally be able to get it in house.

I was happy to see Ron Zacapa, a Guatemalan rum so smooth it is like drinking sherry.

There are events every day of the week with live music on Friday and Saturday and a DJ on Thursday.

Sunday morning there is a build your own Bloody Mary Bar. You choose the booze for your drink. Tuesday there is a complimentary taco bar.

I’m sorry I didn’t copy the ingredients down for the Asian pear because I thought they would be online. There was some sort of pear liquor, elderberry syrup and the house made sweet and sour mix. It had the most beautiful pear aroma and taste.

They also make their own simple syrup. Orange, grapefruit and lemon juice is fresh squeezed.

Rellik water is specially bottled for the restaurant from a spring in Nevada. It is good.

The margarita was excellent as well.

For each of the five absinthe’s choose one of three preparation

1. Absinthe Drip

2. Absinthe by Fire

3. Ice Cubes

Wild Boar chili aside, it is about the booze here. The owner won first place in a local chili cook off and plans to add it soon.

One of the owners had hoped the city would allow a coal pizza oven. Nope. So he said he serves the finest frozen pizza he can find.

The fish and chips were actually good, but I forget the process … they weren’t deep fried. It was well worth the nine bucks.

The croissant was from Rosanna’s European Delights a bakery down the street. It was fine, but let’s say that ham and cheese croissants aren’t the best item from that bakery. It did get punched up by being served with a sweet and sour mustard. It is nice of the bar to support other local businesses.

In the morning, it is the owner taking care of things. At night he said they have 17 professional bartenders and servers. He also has a long history bartending around the Bay Area.

Address and website

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  1. didn't realize the 707 extended down to Benicia

    726 1st St
    Benicia, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: drewskiSF

      i have no clue what that means. i do know i'm tired of the same Chowhound recs over and over and over in the same areas. i've been able to expand my food horizons a bit and tried some great new places ... and some not so great but still better than the same old, same old.

      i was hoping for some chat about this joint, but that's fine.

      1. re: rworange

        the 707 area code. i know people in Santa Rosa who are 707 and i didn't know it stretched so far. that's all.

        it's 925 across the bridge in Martinez.

        1. re: drewskiSF

          Because Benicia is in Solano County and part of the North Bay. 707 extends quite far north of Santa Rosa as well.

          Any updates on The Rellik?

    2. Telling detail - that they keep Ron Zacapa on the shelf.
      Sounds wonderful. Glad to see exploration of the Benecia-Martinez-Vallejo area.