drink….well! Posted on March 3, 2012 By hello kitchen

Last weekend we attended the soft opening for our latest project and new favorite restaurant, drink.well., in our very own North Loop neighborhood. We’ve been collaborating over the past year with owners Mike & Jessica Sanders, and fellow architect Rick Price of red arc one, to develop a unique neighborhood pub with a focus on American craft beer, wine and cocktails.

We had the privilege of attending some early food and drink tastings during the process, so it’s been a tortuous waiting game knowing how good this place was going to be for us neighborhood foodheads. An early favorite of mine was the ZLT (zucchini, lettuce, tomato): zucchini sauteed with smoked paprika, paired with roasted tomatoes and a lovely sweet goat cheese. I don’t know if I had any influence on this or not (ahem) but I was SO excited to see brussels sprouts on the menu, simmered in a rich bacon sherry vinaigrette. I’m a total buffalo wing addict, so I couldn’t resist those, which were fantastic and super spicy. The second night I tried the chicken sausage & waffles, which was not nearly as heavy as I thought it might be, and had a light sweetness that would be perfect with a beer. The fennel salad with beets and oranges was all chopped fine and perfectly integrated (rather than awkward large pieces that you so often see in restaurants). Literally, everything on the menu strikes the perfect note and would balance well with their wide variety of drinks. See for yourself!

Please excuse my horrible photos until the professional comes in, but I just can’t wait to show off the place!! We owe much thanks to John Atwater and his team at Franklin Alan, who did an excellent job with the construction.

Below: the bar, with its ever-so-charming bartenders. On TV? Rushmore. Awesome!

Behind the bar, the goods. Drink.well. has some amazing cocktail recipes going on. I must say that I drink wine about 98% of the time, but two cocktails caught my eye: the Sherry Cobbler (Amontillado sherry, touch of sugar, fresh blackberries, fizzy soda, egg whites) and El Diablo (tequila, lime, blackberry coridial, ginger brew). These satisfied my sweet tooth but didn’t put me over the top with citric acid, like many cocktails.

Hand painted mural on the brick wall features Superman and Wonder Woman, our official mascots and unofficial alter-egos of Mike & Jessica.

The place: dark glossy ceilings & steel, white oak walls, padded banquette details, and original terrazzo floors. We did a lot of Barn Light Electric fixtures which had a nice rough-hewn, industrial quality. The vinyl cut-out lettering on the windows turned out well.

Exterior: we kept the original stone, soffit and ceiling height of the old building to stay in scale with the neighborhood commercial strip. Hand painted sign on the new stucco wall:

Enjoying drink.well.!!!

It’s been pretty well packed since their opening on Thursday, so stop by some night soon! Tip: the best seat in the house is the back corner bar seat by the brick wall, near the little table lamp. It’s all yours… unless I’m already in it!