Back to the B – B Side (Visit #2)

The perfect bar for a rainy day, B-Side provides some powerful cocktails and warm décor.

Ambiance: ****1/2

Decor: ****1/2

Service: ****

Cocktails: ****

Overall Rating: 4.25

It was all the way back in June when I first visited B Side bar in the bustling Mosaic District. I remember it very clearly: a pouring rain kept me inside for hours, contently sipping excellent Jeff Faile cocktails in the dark, homey environs. I just love the look of B Side, it’s really a perfect date spot or cozy refuge to relax after a hard days work. Also, a no-kidding vinyl-record player spins the hits in the back, filling out the rock-club vibe I pick up on. Service was excellent on this most recent trip, same as the first.

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Drink time! I sampled four new cocktails at B Side, two of which were money standouts. Started in the light with the “You Win Again” with Sobieski vodka, Domaine de Canton, maple syrup, and lemon. This standout was mighty fine with a perfect marriage of the ginger Domaine and maple syrup: it honestly works so well you’ll be ashamed you didn’t think of it first. That herbal taste and the sugary heft from the syrup, lovely. With the smooth vodka, this is a great and easy way to start any prolonged bar hang. Next up was the “Don’t Let Me Down” with Sobieski vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit, and tabasco simple syrup. A very nice, simple cocktail, this one excels in two ways – one, the grapefruit is perfectly utilized as a supporting sweetener rather than an overwhelming citrus influence, which happens from time to time. Two, the tabasco syrup is a peppery, heated kiss that pops at the end. Nice, resonant, spicy, easy as a Sunday morning.

The second half starts with “I Don’t Even Know Myself” with Evan Williams bourbon, black tea, yellow chartreuse, and house-made lemon cordial. What a marvelous drink. This standout knocked it out of the park with a perfectly measured flow of bourbon bite and just a tint of chartreuse on the edges. Add some tea to that chartreuse and you get a nice herbal sensation that carries through the bourbon heat, and the lemon-cordial gives the whole mix a lightly sweet pick me up. This one surprised me; best drink of the day. Ended in heat with “Ruby Tuesday” with Reposado tequila, Cocchi di Torino, bonal, and habanero shrub. Ruby is a fairly severe beast, with an uncompromising burn. I did like the tequila and habanero combo, which will put some hair on your chest, but the bonal and Torino didn’t work for me and add this sort of “off” syrup taste to the middle of it.

It was a joy to get back to B Side – I promise I won’t let 10 months go by until my next visit!

One thought on “Back to the B – B Side (Visit #2)

  1. The Ruby Tuesday looks…interesting. The reposado and habanero is a newer trend that I have loved seeing bartenders play with and the Cocchi Torino is good to meld the two ingredients together, but the bonal on top of all that does just sound like it would bring in a syrup taste if ratios are off. Sounds like a great bar to visit overall though the next time I find myself traveling into the city from IAD.

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