20 January 2008

Through the Looking Glass (and what Alice drank there)

I suppose this would be an update on a previous post concerning our much-beloved corner pub Temperance Hall, and its acquisition by the folks behind The Wonderland Ballroom.

No, I'm not breaking new ground here, and the topic has been beaten to death by concerned beer-drinking bloggers and their loving commenters. And I'm as guilty as anyone.

The new establishment has been christened The Looking Glass Lounge. Comment threads on other blogs had (prematurely) bemoaned everything about the place: The name, the threat of it becoming as "hip" as The Wonderland (eek, the terror!), menu changes, etc... Yes, there was hoopla.

I've never been accused of being an optimist (again, the terror!) but I refused to crucify the place without a fair trial. And I'd be as devastated as anyone if Temperance was to truly DIE, or be replaced with a savage little shithole. It was Intangible HQ's corner pub, and may God have mercy on its soul...

A few weeks had passed since the sale went down, and I felt it was finally time to enter and sniff around. And dear sweet potato jesus, it was relatively unchanged. Banish the hoopla, we're gonna make it, children: We're gonna LIVE...

The menu seemed the same, for the most part. Or at least, everything I cared about was still there. The BLT was classic Temperance, complete with the garlic mayo. The garlic fries were, actually, even garlicky-er than before, which is sheer awesomeness-beyond-imagination.

I was sad to see the Brooklyn Brown Ale go, but they did have a Baltimore-based (but European-produced) amber lager on tap called The Raven, which was as drinkable as Newcastle, but with more personality. Dan Searing (still there) suggested we try the Raven on behalf of Edgar Allen Poe, whose birthday it was. And it was (1809). And we did.

Dan also says they're keeping many of the great ryes of Temperance Hall, but perhaps thinning down the more expensive varieties.

Overall, at least for now, it has the same great vibe. And the slightly-remodeled upper floor looks great: removing the tall barriers between booths was a genius move: the space feels more open and friendly.

So fear not. Get in there. Have you hugged a bartender today?


Reya Mellicker said...

They serve rye? Wow. So they could make a real manhattan. I've gotta find my way to your neighborhood one of these days, definitely.

I love BLT's!

Anonymous said...

they kept dan but fired scott? uh, ok.