I dropped in on the soft opening of 1022 South on Sunday night. That’s the new joint just opened at 1022 S. J St., a space owned by the Frontier Room’s Neil Harris, in case you missed my last couple of posts. And it’s still dark, hip and ultra cozy with a slick but subtle makeover. It takes a discerning eye, or someone who spent way too much time in there when it was the Monsoon Room, to pick out the changes. The shelves and arrangement behind the bar is different, a bit slicker. The fancy piano in the corner is definitely new, and 1022 South’s Chris Langston tells me local singer-songwriter types will get a crack at the 100-year-old antique once it’s back in tune.
But atmosphere aside, the thing that’s bound to make this place a great date or concert pre-funk spot is the unique drink menu. All the drink names are nods to 1022 South organizers’ favorite authors. Death in the Afternoon is for Hemingway. The Bluebird is for Bukowski. We’ll go with Nietzsche over the less marketable alternative for the Hilltop Uber Alles.
The one I really fell in love with was the Garden of Forking Paths, basically a modified mojito made with tequila in lieu of rum and a bit of muddled jalapeno that gives it a pleasant bite. I was a big fan on sip one, having conditioned my taste buds through years of palak paneer consumption. But my girlfriend couldn’t get past the lingering burn and left hers unfinished.
But one thing that visibly put off a couple of patrons I saw checking out the menu was how pricey the specialty cocktails were. At $8 to $10 a pop, not sure how well they will go over during this whole recession/depression thing we’ve got going on. But they’ve got cheaper beer on tap, too, at any rate.
Langston tells me the web page is still in the works, but I believe this is them on MySpace.