I'm the self-elected Chairman of Fun at the office, which means that I'm in charge of the after work Self Esteem Workshops that happen around 4 p.m. Usually at a bar.
I know you wonder if our lives here at the mag are all glorious parties and photo shoots. Particularly, my life as food editor must be riddled with three-Manhattan lunches and crates of fresh oysters shipped to my desk. Nut Goodies aside, my desk is just like any desk (yes, that's a Lego minifig doing UpDog in front of Al Nye), which means it must be escaped after stressful deadlines have been met.
While we've struggled to find a place that we love, I may have found a great new possibility with the brand spanking new lobby bar at the Grand Hotel: The SIX15 Room.
Before Kimpton took over the hotel, the lobby bar was a sad affair with a strange little cubed cheese buffet, so it had been written off our schedule. But now, with a little zhooszh and flair, the small room is kinda swank, think of it as W Living Room lite with some funky pieces of furniture, modish lighting, dark colors, and no oily bohunks (so far).
Troy the barman has put together a nice list of classic and signature cocktails including quite a few that rock the bourbon and rye. I have dug the Bite the Bulleit made with rye, ginger syrup, and fresh lime as well as the Whiskey Sour featuring Jim Beam Black and a frothy bit of egg white. There are plenty of funky liquors and Troy seem affable and ready to help you find the right drink. Beers run the gamut, but include quite a few crafts and an all-local line-up on tap.
Since the banishment of the cheese cubes, the nosh has taken a far better turn. The hotel chef, local boy Kris Koch, has created a snacky little menu that includes calamari fries, Fisher Farms sausages, walleye tater tots, and Wild Acres turkey burgers among others. You can also get tasting portions of bigger plates from the hotel menu.
So here's my official Chairman of Fun bottom line: nice bartenders, interesting nosh, close to our office, squishy couch, bourbon, quiet but not boring, private area if we need it. The joint will hold a grand opening soiree sometime this month, but if you're looking for cool spot for your next Self Esteem Workshop, give them a shot.