Barrelhouse Flat [Photo: Tim Hiatt]
Ready for a drink? Stephen Cole is ready to make one as his new speakeasy-inspired joint, Barrelhouse Flat, opens its doors tonight. Set on a stretch of Lincoln Avenue away from the rowdier college-focused sports bars a few blocks south, the two-story venue will take you back in time a bit with its romantic, old-timey decor and the 70-drink-strong cocktail list, many from a bygone era.
Cole, a veteran of the Violet Hour, teamed with GM Greg Buttera (The Aviary) to create a space that was made for drinking. As reported in late August, Barrelhouse Flat occupies an 1892 building and will deliver a spectrum of cocktails and punches crafted with housemade juices, bitters, tinctures and sodas.
While the wide-open lower level has a full bar and will soon start serving food from its exposed kitchen, it's the second level that offers up a sexier vibe. With a booze-infused back bar, vintage lights, wooden tables, a fireplace and red velvet chairs, the vibe is almost "anti Violet Hour" in that it seems to call for more raucous behavior. It has a Prohibition-era speakeasy essence built for drinking and carousing. You can pop into the separate back room for a game of pool, assuming a private party isn't taking place. Two other cool features are the upright piano and vintage jukebox, which aren't as old as some of the cocktail recipes, but will help set the mood while you imbibe.