When it comes to outdoor activities, July and August are a mixed bag. Alternately sunny and perfectly warm one day, rainy and humid the next, and straight-up broiling on a third, tough location decisions abound for happy-hour-goers and patio-sitters. Here are three of the city’s best bets for cocktails and beer — no matter the weather.
People’s Drug, 103 N. Alfred St.
Just a stone’s throw from busy King Street, People’s Drug feels at once close at hand and a remote speakeasy. Small and intimate, but often bustling, its drink offerings skew cocktail-heavy, but that’s not a bad thing. Go with it and you’ll be pleased with the result. Heading over for brunch? Check out the Optimal Shandy — vodka, local honey, lemon and a splash of Port City’s Optima Wit beer. Or turn up for a post-work happy hour and you’re likely to find a Hemingway daiquiri (the old-fashioned kind, not the swim-up pool-bar variety) or classic Rob Roy awaiting your arrival. Order a helping of truffle fries to go alongside and you’ll be cooled off in no time.
Lost Dog Café, 808 N. Henry St.
The opposite side of the beverage spectrum from People’s Drug, Lost Dog Café skews incredibly beer-heavy — which should suit diners just fine. The Route 1 outpost of the regional restaurant offers dozens of ever-changing beer options spanning a variety of styles. Looking for a light brew to go with a heavy pizza? Fine Creek Brewing’s Helles Lager fits the bill. Or venture to the other side of the spectrum with the likes of Grimm Artisanal Ales’ Double Negative stout. Across the balance are sour beers, ciders, IPAs and wheat beers, all vying for a spot at your table.
Los Tios Grill, 2615 Mount Vernon Ave.
There are few Friday nights better than those where the weather is just cool enough – but, preferably, sunny too – to sit out on Los Tios’ long patio, taking in the goings-on across Mount Vernon Avenue while noshing on chips, salsa, burritos and fajitas. And what goes better with top-shelf Mexican fare than top-shelf margaritas and mojitos? So many margaritas fall down on the job in the sugar department, coming on much too strong with the sweet stuff while letting the tequila and citrus flavors take a back seat. Los Tios’ concoctions balance quite nicely indeed, allowing for all ingredients to showcase their talents. The same goes for Los Tios’ mojitos, complete with sugarcane stalks and fresh mint.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.