Saturday afternoon my brother, his fiance and I drove up to Sacramento to take a detour on our way to Tahoe. We met up with a friend and decided to go check out some bars.
It was my first time checking out the bar scene in Sacramento and I can say I’m quite impressed.
Our first stop was Bottle & Barlow on R Street ran by Jayson Wilde. We headed in and the place is pretty damn beautiful inside. A very clean bar top (with very little on it except bitters bottles) and seamless back bar. There were some great seating options; the bar, a few tables and a mezzanine which over looks the bar. Jayson and Russell have done a phenomenal job with the cocktails too. They’re all $9 and we basically worked our way through the whole menu. My personal favorite was the Midnight Special (Scotch, Sherry, Cardamom, Apple and Brown Sugar). The garnish was quite surprising, a lemon twist, but a pickled onion that offset the sweetness in the cocktail, really amazing. Jayson and Russell gave us great service as always, showed us around the bar as well as the Barbershop that’s attached.
The Barbershop is beautiful as well and really detailed. The place is appointment only, but when you come in and get a cut or a shave, you get a cocktail or a beer while you’re getting lined up. Both places are all about service and experience, both of which are really unique.
After a few cocktails and a mind eraser, we headed over to Shady Lady where live music was playing and the bar was packed. Neil Diamond covers were being played and people were dancing. A really great vibe with some great cocktails.
Just like Bottle & Barlow, we drank our way through most of the drinks, Breakfast (Cognac, King’s Ginger, Montenegro) being my favorite. It really amazes me how all the cocktails in Sacramento are $9 per drink, tax included. $36 for 4 people to drink?! That’s insane compared to S.F., it would be $60 bucks for 4 people normally with tax and S.F. Heath added in.
Since we had to be up really early the next morning, we went to Red Rabbit since it was on the way home. We ordered some food and a few cocktails each. I went with the Ex-Wife (Scotch, Cynar, Angostura Bitters and Orange Bitters). Smokey, bitter and citrusy, just what I wanted to end my night on.
I find myself drinking more Cognac and Scotch cocktails these days. They’re both quite challenging to mix with sometimes so I like seeing what other people can do with it.
Sacramento really impressed me. There’s a lot of talent up North and it’s such a quick drive from the Bay Area. I can definitely see myself coming up here a lot more to see more of the bar scene and I highly recommend you do too.
- Photo from the Sacramento Bee