Last week, My friend Jared and I spent the night on 17th Street and two awesome cocktail bars. The first, Rye House, might not be considered a cocktail bar per se, but the bartenders treat it like one. We were lucky enough to sit at the bar and watch the lady barkeep do her thang. She had great technique and could tell she knew what she was doing. Both the house cocktails and classics were well balanced and delicious. The food was OK--nothing special. The French dip sandwich fell short of expectations while the house-made jerky almost made me order two. Mac and cheese balls lacked salt and were easily forgettable. But Rye House got a lot going on that might keep you coming back. Its a bar that you could get a well crafted cocktail or a great tap beer without being in one one of those dark intimate rooms that most cocktail bars are in. You get more of a sports bar feel, which is kind of different...kind of cool. The atmosphere allows you to talk a little louder and mingling seems to be appropriate. Rye House seems to draw on a young, affluent demographic. Jared prefers the beagle, but I think Rye House is definitely easier to get to. A good spot for sure.
While on 17th Street, we hit up a more traditional cocktail bar--Raines Law Room. By traditional, I mean that Raines has the speakeasy feel to it that most cocktail bars are going for. Dimly lit caves with no windows, comfortable couches, and soft music. Raines is an awesome spot for a couple cocktails on a low-key night. Choose from their extensive cocktail list, ask for an old favorite, or allow the well-trained barkeep whip you up something new. Don't expect to see the bartender at work, because he's in the back in a prep kitchen space surrounded by a plethora of tools and glassware. Not only did I try some of their house cocktails, but I also enjoyed a delicious negroni and an awesome mint julep. Each table comes with a buzzer that signals your waitress, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ambiance and your cocktail of course. I would definitely recommend stopping by Raines especially if you enjoy other cocktail bars like PDT, Death and Co, Milk and Honey, Flatiron Lounge, Etc. The only down side is actually getting a table!