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There’s something simple, yet profound, regarding the relationship between men and their local watering holes. The classic watering hole is a place to decompress after a long day’s work, a place to unite in support of a favorite sports team, and even an easy place to meet a prospective mate. We can all relate to the anticipation of one’s 21st birthday – when you can finally go into a bar (legally) and order your first pint. It’s a magical feeling – freedom, happiness, and angst exude as you confidently pass your (legitimate) identification to the courteous barkeep.
Fast forward five years later. I’ve definitely been to my share of watering holes. When the novelty of the “$5 fishbowl” wore off, I yearned for a bar that was unabashedly a bar. Music? Fantastic. Sports? A requirement. Good-looking girls? Oh yeah. In comes Tavern – a bar that fits the bill of a great bar, without the worry of running into a slew of undergrads or (potentially worse) your high school science teacher.
I’ve made my way through a big chunk of Tavern’s menu. Although I didn’t order it on this visit, I have a suggestion: ALWAYS order the Tavern Burger. Every time I order anything else, I kick myself for not getting this grand sandwich.
The Nachos with guacamole are solid appetizers. The guacamole comes with pistachios, which is a unique addition to the typical spread. The Philly Cheesesteak Eggrolls were flavorful and fried well. The Hack of Chicken actually gives you a whole chicken (albeit a small one) that has been roasted with lemon and herbs. The chicken is well cooked – tender and moist, although the advertised “crispy skin” didn’t deliver. Regardless, I’ve made my share of roast chicken and know the difficulties in getting crispy skin and maintaining it. It came with a basket of Belgian fries. The fries are a focal point of the menu, as Tavern offers Tuscan, sweet potato, and stadium fries. Given the focus on fries (and the price of $7 an order), I expect better. I like crispy fries, and the ones I got were a mix – some (smaller pieces) were crispy, while the larger pieces tended to be soggy. Note that this doesn’t usually stop me from ordering them. Zarna’s Grilled Cheese was great – but there wasn’t any meat on it, so after I took a bite, I went back to my own plate.
Overall, Tavern is a great bar, whose food, drinks, and service are superior to many of the local watering holes. I’m a big fan of the drinks and atmosphere. But if I’m going to eat here, you can be sure, I’ll be eating the burger. Because even though the relationship between man and drink is sacred, the addition of a damn good medium rare burger makes it better. Period.
Vivek and I trotted over to one of our favorite 2-for-1 drink locations called Tavern the other night. It’s a trendy restaurant amongst a lot of college hangouts in Midtown, and since I’m completely opposed to anywhere you can smoke inside, I always convince my friends to meet me at Tavern (no smoking inside, thank goodness!). They have great drink specials (most notably 2-for-1 drinks on Wednesday and Sunday) and some really fun food. Just a little note – it’s owned by the same people as Kayne Prime.
I decided to try out two of my favorite bar foods – Nachos and Grilled Cheese. A word to the wise – the nacho plate was huge and could be shared by a few people. I also eat like a bird, but I’d still recommend at least two people to a nacho plate. It was an overflowing plate of chile-spiked black beans, queso, cheddar, and pickled jalapenos. For all of you carnivores out there – you can add pork carnitas, wood-fired shrimp, or “angry chicken” for a few extra bucks. Let’s be serious, Vivek was not happy with my vegetarian option. That boy likes his meat! I like some freshness on my nachos like lettuce/tomatoes/chives to cut the dish a bit, so next time I’ll ask for some additional toppings.
Next up was the Grilled Cheese: American and Tennessee cheese on Texas Toast brioche and Yukon gold truffle chips. Ok, literally, the Texas Toast brioche is genius – I love me some crustless bread, so this was right up my alley! I ordered my grilled cheese with a slice of tomato (as I always do) and it was really delicious. The chips I got weren’t very crisp, so that was a bit of a letdown.
All in all, I enjoyed some fun elevated bar food and will absolutely go back for more. A friend of ours is a manager there and next time I go back, I bet if I ask for a few things I’ve written in this review, they’ll accommodate. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, so I’m definitely looking forward to my next visit!