“Anywhere in mind?” Lizzie texted.
“Bar Goto has been on my list,” I reply. A note has hung in my office saying the bar’s name for some time. It was scribbled by the bartender on our first visit to Mace, highly recommended.
“Mine too,” she responds.
It is settled. I pick up empanadas on the way to kill the time Lizzie is stuck in traffic, also knowing our plans likely do not involve food. The delicacies are pipping hot and packed to go; I shove them into my backpack for later.
The bar is small, probably 10 seats in an L shape. I walk in to find Lizzie seated. A tall slender man greets us quickly and enthusiastically. Another less enthusiastic bartender fills water in front of us. I offer a thank you that is received with no expression.
Most of the menu options have a creative twist, such as shiitake in a bloody mary, pastis in a gin cocktail, or the matcha-sesame punch. I choose none of these, instead gravitating to agave as a base liquor, and order the Far East Side (sake, tequila, shiso, elderflower, lemon, yuzu bitters). The lighting illuminates the drink magically. It is delicate, refreshing, and elegant, served up with a long stem.
Lizzie’s plum sazerac tastes, well, like a sazerac. The drinks are well-made and savored while the ambiance lacks a certain community of sitting at a bar. Parties stick to themselves and the bartender provides the basics.
It is too beautiful outside to stay for another drink. As we close out in hopes of outdoor seating, I notice a couple walking in and offer to give them our seats. The bar traffic is fluid rather than raucous. Good for a date spot, we recon, as the empandas are divided.
“Guava and cheese or plantains and cheese?”