That something as all together hip, upscale, wildly unique – affordable even – as the R Bar could splash down alongside the ruins of Kemper Arena in this economy is practically unthinkable.
And yet there it is – poised to open for both lunch and dinner Tuesday with a flurry of pre party action, including a kick ass pig roast Saturday – in a destination location to rival Knuckleheads Saloon in the East Bottoms.
One big difference between the two different-as-can-be bottoms dwellers: unlike Knuckleheads, anybody and everybody can actually find the R Bar.
And from the looks of things, lots and lots of people will want to.
Let’s start with some of the sexy stuff, as in former American Restaurant chef Alex Pope – and a dinner menu like no other that I’ve seen around these parts. A few highlights: menu items are grouped as “small,” “Medium,” “large,” and “sweet” – as in small appetizers, larger appetizers, main courses and desserts. That’s my take, anyway.
Small includes “Fried Olives,” ($5) “Grilled Berkshire Bacon” ($5) and “Manchego cheese and R capicola” ($7).
Medium starts with Grilled octopus ($10) and includes Chicken fried sweetbreads ($11), Roasted heirloom tomato tart ($8), Foie gras torchon ($12) and a dish described as “Watermelon, beets, kalamata olives (in a) bubblegum vinaigrette” ($9).
Large begins with Pork Belly ($16) and includes Wild wahoo ($17), Braised lamb ($19) and Smoked hanger steak ($22).
Sweet consists of a Rosemary honey semifreddo ($7), Peanut butter mousse with grapes, walnut cake and bannna consomme ($6) and a Dark chocolate brownie with smoked marshmellows graham cracker & cinnamon syrup ($7).
“We’re having a pig roast Saturday at 5 p.m.,” Pope says. “It’ll be 10 bucks and we’ll have 10 kegs of Boulevard and a 250 pound pig and 150 pounds of brisket, potato salad, cole slaw and barbecue sandwiches.”
As for the digs, think classic cool meets effortlessly trendy. Gold butter cream banquette seating runs the length of the rectangular room alongside “rustic, elegant” dark wooden tables.
“The bar is all old doors that John O’Brien from the Dolphin Gallery did all the work,” Pope says.
The R in R Bar is another story…
Something about thinking of calling it the Royal Bar – get it American Royal, Royals – but backing it off to just the R. Which by the way, hangs