Sunday, April 13, 2014

Barrel 31

Ironically enough, as soon as I returned from the land of whiskey I was invited to visit Barrel 31. - Barrel 31 is a restaurant and whiskey bar that is taking the old Velvet Dog space in Martini Corner and is aiming to help revamp the feel of the corner. - So I packed up all of my brand new whiskey knowledge and headed down to see what was in store. 

You may or may not know this about me by now, but I love a good whiskey. Naturally, I had high hopes for Barrel 31. In my mind, I had it built up to be a laid back, approachable, yet still sophisticated establishment to go have a good whiskey with friends whilst also realizing that there was a possibility that it could turn out to be pretentious and over-priced with lack luster offerings. Fortunately for me, and for all of you, Barrel 31 more closely aligns with the former than the latter.

When you walk in, you will find a wall of whiskey (and a few other liquors) behind the bar, to your left. High top tables are available for seating in the bar area while more traditional seating is available in the dining room. There will ultimately be 3 floors and a back patio, but only two of the three floors were finished when I was there. There is a second, smaller bar on the second floor. The interior walls are brick, with wood and ornamental metal accents (the ornamental metal pieces are shaped like little men attempting to scale the brick wall as ornamental metal sharks swim on the opposite wall), the way that one would want their own whiskey den to look (if they had one).

The aforementioned wall of whiskey has almost every type of whiskey you can think of, not every maker, but at least one from every region and multiples from some regions (from Kansas to Scotland, including Auchentoshan - the Scotch that I brought back from Scotland). As one could reasonably deduce, B31 also uses those whiskey to make some pretty mean cocktails (including some barrel aged cocktails, similar to the one that I had at The Majestic). 

The Drunken Irishman cocktail was insanely delicious and deceptively refreshing. The DI is made with Jameson whiskey, Guinness and mint reduction, fresh mint, and then topped off with a splash of Guinness. Given the ingredients, one would not immediately label this as a spring patio beverage, but it absolutely is. The mint springs to the forefront of the flavour profile making this concoction a dangerous libation because of how hidden the very real strength is. The DI is a bit like Teddy Roosevelt in that it speaks softly but carries a big stick.

The Bobby Burns cocktail is named after the national poet of Scotland. It is essentially a Scotch Manhattan that comes with a shortbread cookie (like high tea). Replace your standard whiskey with Dewars, add house-made bitters and a few drops of Pernod liquer and you have yourself the Bobby Burns.

I also got a chance to sit down with John, the owner, and talk about our shared love of whiskey. He was a super awesome guy and I love his vision.

Not a whiskey lover? B31 has plenty of flights for you to try to find one that they like. Failing that, there is a KC Bier Co. tap at the bar.

Though to this point I have focused predominantly on the whiskey, Barrel 31 has some great food as well! They have different takes on a lot of old favorites (I have included a few pictures below).
House-made Pork Rinds w "Haba-peno" aioli
Deviled Oysters
Heirloom Beet Nik
Another solid item, besides the Heirloom Beet Nik salad, if you are looking for something on the healthier side is the bourbon glazed edamame.

Pork Belly

Pork Osso Bucco
I was only able to try a couple items on the Barrell 31 drink and food menu during my first trip, but I plan on making plenty of trips over the next few months in hopes to try the balance. Here is to hoping that Barrel 31 is around for a long time! Cheers!

Barrel 31 on Urbanspoon

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