A quick trip to Mexico by Bus

I like visiting Mexico. Not the border towns like Juarez and Nuevo Laredo, or expat enclaves like San Miguel. I’ve even soured on one of my past favorites, Playa del Carmen after it exploded into a crowded tourist mecca.

Guanajuato MexicoMy current favorite is Guanajuato, (above). Located in the central highlands, this city is the capital of the state, (also named Guanajuato), site of a large university, and due to it’s role in the revolution, a popular tourist town for Mexican citizens who enjoy learning about their country’s historical past.

Brenda and I have driven there many times, but for this trip I was going alone and only for a couple of days, so I decided to take the bus. It’s a long trip for one driver (about 800 miles) and the cost of fuel, insurance and tolls is much higher than the cost of a bus ticket.

If the phrase ‘Mexico by bus’ brings of images of a rickety school bus crowded with people and chickens you’ve never experienced a Mexican luxury class bus. The most popular way to travel, these buses are quiet, roomy, and have comfortable seats with power outlets, WiFi, clean bathrooms and video on demand. The larger bus stations in Mexico also have private lounges for passengers.

Unfortunately these buses don’t usually cross the border. There are buses that do, for instance Autobuses Americanos which is associated with Greyhound, but these are not the same level of comfort or quality. My preferred route is to take the Greyhound to Laredo, walk across the border and then take a taxi to the Nuevo Laredo station where I can pick up the ETN de Lujo (luxury class) to Leon. From there it’s a quick hop to Guanajuato on either the ETN or any of several local lines.

Leon bus station

Bus station in Leon, Mexico

Make sure you book the Austin to Laredo on the express which makes a single stop in San Antonio. The ETN only stops in Monterrey, although at two different stations. Total cost is $25 for the Austin to Laredo part of the trip on Greyhound. $1200MN ($80 US) for Nuevo Laredo to Leon, and another $90MN ($4 US) for Leon to Guanajuato for a total of $108. Better yet, the ETN fares are half price if you are 62 or older. This reduces the price to $67, a bargain! Additional costs are a couple of dollars for the bridge and $4 for the taxi from the Mexican side of the bridge to the Nuevo Laredo station.

INM logoA couple of notes. You’ll have to get a tourist visa after you cross the bridge. Look for the immigration office (Instituto Nacional de Migracion) after you exit customs. You should see a sign with the logo on the right. Present your passport and you’ll get an invoice which you then take to the bank next door for the payment of $322MN or about $22US. After you get your visa ignore all the vendors trying to sell you this and that, walk to the cab stand across the street, and ask for the fare to the ETN station. It should be $50MN or $60MN.

For my recent trip the total travel time was almost 24 hours. This included a few hours to make the connections in Nuevo Lardeo and Leon. Actual travel time on the bus was 5 hours for the Austin to Laredo segment, 12 for Nuevo Laredo to Leon, and one more for Leon to Guanajuato for a total of 18.

How does this compare to driving? The biggest expense is insurance which would cost around $25 / day. Tolls one way are about $60 and gas is currently around $3.50 a gallon in Mexico. Want to fly? That will be about $700 round trip. Clearly the bus is a bargain.

Brenda

I have not experienced this trip personally so I have to take Jim’s word on this, but he says that the bathrooms on the bus are clean. Also due to the time of his departure both on his outbound from Nuevo Larado and his return from Leon he was on an over night bus so he was able to sleep through most of his journey. I’m a bit envious that he did this trip without me but know that there will be a day in the future that I too will make this journey and hopefully many others throughout the beautiful lands of Mexico.

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!

No cable TV? No Problem

cord-cuttingIt’s been several months since we decided to cut the cord and cancel out subscription TV service so it seems like a good time for an update.

Our current hardware configuration consists of a TiVo Roamio OTA for recording and watching broadcast TV and a Roku for streaming. We also have a TiVo Mini which allows us to watch recorded programs on a second TV.

Content comes from broadcast (ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and NBC) and Hulu. This gives us access to almost any TV program. The most noticeable exceptions are ESPN and HBO. We’re currently experimenting with Dish Sling TV for ESPN access and will probably add an HBO Go subscription when it becomes available later this spring.

The biggest change in our viewing habits has been due to the switch to streaming for non-network TV like The Daily Show. With our cable DVR we could skip commercials, but streaming can force you to watch them. On the bright side the commercial breaks are much shorter.

The biggest problems we’re run into have been network related. We’re currently subscribed to Time Warner’s 100 Mbit/s Internet service but during peak periods we’ve seen data rates as low as 1-2 Mb/s and have had trouble streaming content. And since our home isn’t pre-wired it’s been a challenge to get sufficient bandwidth delivered everywhere it’s needed. The TiVo Mini was the biggest problem since it required an Ethernet connection, and our Ooma VoIP system has also presented challenges.

The Mini is currently connected via MoCA, which seems to work fine. The final issue is that we occasionally need a FAX machine for business, which requires an old fashioned POTS phone line. The problem is that the TW modem is in the living room to provide Ethernet connectivity to the TiVo and Roku, while printer is in the office, and both need to connect to the Ooma. As a result we’re currently FAXless.

The bottom line? Right now we’re paying $15/month for the TiVo, $8 for Hulu, and $20 for Sling TV for a total of $43 for content. If you don’t care about ESPN you can skip Sling and be down to $23, and if you watch broadcast TV in real time you can skip the TiVo.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Life After Cable

cut the cordIt’s been a little over two weeks since we canceled our AT&T Uverse subscription. My plan was to rely on our new TiVo OTA, which records over the air boadcasts for later viewing and incorporates streaming apps for Netfilx, Hulu, and Pandora. I also bought a TiVo mini ($150 with no monthly service fee) to allow us to watch recorded shows in the bedroom. Probably unnecessary, but I wanted to determine the cost to replicate our previous setup.

Once I cancelled our TV subscription I decided to look into alternatives for Internet service. AT&T’s Uverse Internet service seemed slow and their modem was dated so we weren’t getting very good WiFi connectivity. I decided to call Time Warner and discovered that we were in a neighborhood where they were offering 100 Mbit Internet service with an up to date router for only $50 per month. For the same price I was getting only 20 Mbits from AT&T, so I ordered the Time Warner service.

I also subscribed to Hulu ($8/month) to provide access to some of my favorite shows like The Colbert Report, the Daily Show and Young Turks. These appear to be delayed for only one day, and since we don’t stay up late we always recorded these and were a day behind anyway. Combined with Netflix and the occasional Hulu rental we had almost all of the programming we were getting from our $80 per month Uverse subscription for only $23. The ‘almost’ turned out to be a problem which I’ll describe below.

Once the Time Warner router was installed I had to deal with another problem. We don’t have any CAT5 (Ethernet compatible wiring) in our house, so Ethernet would only be available at the cable modem, and I needed service in our office for a couple of things and in the upstairs bedroom for the TiVo mini which won’t run off of WiFi. The solution was three Ethernet over power line adapters from Fry’s for $75.

After a bit of re-arranging everything is working great. The internet connection is much faster and the WiFi adapter is much better, delivering 200 Mbps throughout the house.

One interesting development during the change was that I received an email from AT&T offering me TV and Internet for $92 a month. This was for one DVR with HD support and 200 Mbps Internet service. Very interesting, as when I last talked to them I couldn’t get anything less than $140. TIme Warner made a similar offer of TV, Internet and Home phone for about $100. The problem I have with these offers is that they are promotional prices, sometimes require a contract, and invariably don’t include everything that I can get in a DYI solution.

TV sportsThe last issue was that Brenda missed the ability to watch football. As you may know most football is only available via a pay TV subscription, and the streaming apps require you to sign in with credentials from your provider. After experimenting with sharing subscriptions I decided to pay Time Warner for a TV subscription that included ESPN and FOX sports. The cost is about $50 / month which includes the $2.98 monthly cost to rent a cable card. This can be used to enable a cable ready TiVo or TV, but I just put it on the shelf and used the account to enable streaming for ESPN on our Roku. FOX Sports doesn’t have a Roku app, so we will have to use a laptop plugged into the TV until one is available. Another option would be to get a regular TiVo and plug the cable card in.

So where are we? Right now we’re paying $15 per month for the TiVo, $7 for Hulu, and $50 for sports programming for a total of $72 per month. This is actually more than the promotional price from either AT&T or Time Warner for a single room DVR solution, but adding another room would cost about $12 more, and I don’t have a contract or have to haggle with the provider when the promotion expires. Finally, since there’s no contract we can cancel the TV subscription after football season and we’ll be back to $22 per month.

Equipment cost was $50 for the TiVo OTA and $150 to add the second room support. We also have a Roku ($50) that we use for streaming services like ESPN that aren’t available on the TiVo.

As of now I’d have to say that the savings aren’t huge if I add the cost of equipment, and if you need sports programming it may not make sense at this time. But we do have more flexibility, no long term contracts, and the satisfaction of casting our vote against the current hegemony of pay TV providers. Of course if Google shows up at the door with fiber and TV for $100 a month standard pricing and no contract, things may change again!

Be Sociable, Share!

Cutting the Cord

A remote control in hand.  Shallow depth of field, with focus on the remote.For years I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to ‘cut the cord’ and get rid of my subscription television service. I hate the feeling of being captive to providers who insist on selling me a bundle of hundreds of channels that I’ll never watch just to get the few I’m interested in. And the whole sales process is annoying. Sign up for any of the services and you’ll get a great price for awhile, usually including free trials of add on services. But as soon as your introductory pricing and free trails expires the monthly bill goes up which requires a call the provider to negotiate a new set of discounts.

Until recently there were a couple of reasons that I hadn’t canceled our service. The primary one was that although the bulk of my TV watching was available over the air I wasn’t willing to give up the recording capability of my cable box. I rarely watch broadcast TV in real time. Not only because it’s not convenient, but also because I want to skip past commercials.

The other reason was that there are a few types of programming that aren’t available over the air or via streaming. Mostly football, (I don’t care but Brenda does), and HBO.

So what caused me to finally pull the plug on cable? The first was my most recent negotiation with AT&T. After my monthly bill increased from $120 (cable and internet) to $180 the best I could do was to get a reduction to $140, and that required a one year contract and included an upgrade to even more useless channels and more three month trials of premium services.

TiVo Roamio DVR

TiVo Roamio DVR

The second was the announcement of TiVo’s Roamio OTA (Over The Air). This is a new product from TiVo that provides the ability to record broadcast TV, It also includes apps for video streaming from Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube, and audio from Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody. Initial cost is $50 plus a one year commitment to a $15 per month subscription fee.

After discussing the prospect of football withdrawal with Brenda I decided to see what life would be like without a tether to the cable company and purchased the new TiVo at my local Best Buy.

Now that it’s up and running we’re starting the transition away from out cable service and exploring how to watch some of our favorites like The Colbert Report that aren’t available over the air. So far the TiVo works fine for recording and watching broadcast TV.

For me, losing access to HBO was the biggest downside, but just over the last week there was an announcement by HBO that they will be offering un-bundled streaming in the US starting in 2015. I think that this is a major step in cracking the hold that the bundlers have on our programming and wallets.

Once we’ve used our new system for a while I’ll post an update on our experience. how things are going.

Be Sociable, Share!

An East Austin Happy Hour Walkabout

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a date night that involves walking. We have been slowed down recently due to a bit of a back problem that Jim is having, so most of our Thursday night dates have been spent at movie houses or simply out to dinner.

Whisler's BarThis past week we gave Jim’s leg and back a bit of a test by heading over to check out the east Austin happy hour at Whisler’s on E. Sixth. Our plan was to go to the newly opened Mezcalaría Tobalá in a small space above Whisler’s. However our plan was foiled due to the opening time, 9:30 PM. So we did what anyone would do, we enjoyed a cocktail at the bar. Happy Hour is celebrated at Whisler’s from 4-7 and we each sipped on a delightful hand crafted cocktail while we mulled over our plan. Our bartender shared a few suggestions of places within a short walk from the bar and we made the decision to stroll on over to Salt and Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria.

You may wonder what the heck we were thinking of by going to a Butcher Shop. Never fear, this is not your Grandfather’s butcher shop. No, not at all. In addition to being a full service butcher shop, Salt & Time offers farm to table dining along with a decent selection of beer and wine. Butcher CaseJim sat down at the bar while I admired the meats in the case where I was offered sample tastes of Spanish Chorizo and Lardo. Wow is all I can say. Back at the bar we ordered a couple of beers and a Salumi Board that featured house made meats. Salumi Board This was followed by one of the most fabulous burgers ever to pass my lips. The burger was dressed with N’duja and a fried egg. We’ll definitely be back for more tasty treats from the menu in addition to the daily specials.

More time to kill before the Mezcal bar opens… so a little more walking to Yellow Jacket Social Club housed in the former space of Cafe Mundi. It’s a quirky little bar and dog friendly so feel free to bring Fido. We found a table on the outside which is surrounded by bamboo and shared our time with mostly younger folks seated at picnic tables enjoying the pleasant evening. The Yellow Jacket’s menu listed an assortment of plates to share, sandwiches, salads and brunch items.

Cesar Finally it was time to move on to Mezcalaría Tobalá where we were greeted by Cesar Aguilar, a man truly passionate about mezcal and the land and the people where it comes from. We were immediately transported to Oaxaca which is exactly what Cesar had in mind . Cesar is enriching the

experience by bringing in only Mezcalsmezcals made through sustainable means and sold by friends and people he’s met. Mezcal is clearly not for everyone, however once we had heard about Cesar’s Mezcalaría Tobalá we were intrigued. And, we walked away with an educated taste and an appreciation for mezcal and the people and the land from where it comes, Oaxaca.  Here’s a link to an article about Mezcalaría Tobalá.

Be Sociable, Share!

MIA But Not Missing the Action

Let’s have a coctail!

Okay, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything however it’s not because we’ve moved from Austin or haven’t been out on the town, we’ve just been busy.  Holidays, a few long weekend trips,out of town guests, a family reunion and work (yes we still work) have kept us going non stop.

Back in early March we were intrigued by an article in the “Austin Chronicle” titled “Where is Your Bartender Drinking Tonight”.  Of the nine places listed we had already been to three so we joined up with some friends and headed to Rainey Street to see what all the buzz was about. While the places on Rainey weren’t new to us, they were new to our friends and we are always eager to share interesting and fun places.

No Va

No Va

Our evening began with a trip back to No Va where we enjoyed appetizers and cocktails. Although this was not on the list we wanted to begin our evening with some food and it was too early for the food trailers to be open. No Va has a happy hour that offers  $2 tacos, flat bread pizzas and a burger big enough to share, along with $2 Mexican beers, $5 wines and $2 off cocktails. The menu changes frequently,however when we were there last we enjoyed one of the best macaroni and cheese dishes I have yet to try.

We crossed the street to The Blackheart a place we had been many times before, in fact it’s one of our favorites.  We are most always out early before the crowds arrive and we enjoy sitting at the bar and visiting with the fun and friendly bartenders. If you go, stay around for some live music or sit outside on the front patio and watch the passersby on Rainey St. It’s always a pleasure to soak up the vibe in this historic Victorian house that was built in 1889.  A couple of bands that we’ve enjoyed hearing, play on Thursday nights (our date night), Mrs. Glass and Roxy Roca.

After Blackheart we crossed over to Half Step where we enjoyed a quiet table and skillfully crafted cocktails. Try a “bartender’s choice” if you can’t decide what to have. There’s now a patio with another bar open on the side patio that serves beer and less complicated cocktails.  We’re pretty sure that later in the evenings this place is packed but if you’re out and about early and enjoy sipping on a well prepared cocktail served in an intimate setting this gem should not be missed. It is truly a lovely addition to Rainey Street.

Lawnmower at Whistler

Lawnmower at Whisler’s

We had a friend visiting her folks in early April and we wanted to share some new places with her that were on the Bartender’s list over on the East side.  We started at Whisler’s located on E. 6th and Chicon.  Again, we were the early customers so there was plenty of room to sit at the bar and chat with the friendly bartender and be served a creative cocktail.  The building itself is worth the visit.  I can’t recall but I believe it’s at least 100 years old and must have quite a storied past. Just this past week a Oaxacan themed bar called  Mezcalaría Tobalá opened upstairs from Whisler’s.  We’re going to have to go try this one.

Wheather Up

Wheather Up

After Whisler’s we wandered over to Weather Up a NYC type of bar, yes you read that right, located on E. Cesar Chavez. There’s a nice patio, however on the night we were there we were treated to a fast moving thunder storm so enjoyed ourselves in a cozy booth on the bar. Again attention to details in the making of handcrafted cocktails is a signature in this little gem on the East side.

We finished off our evening at Buenos Aires Cafe a favorite of ours located at 1201 E. Sixth.  Though not on the bartender’s list, we favor this little gem for dining and have been dining with them ever since they first opened on S. First Street.  There are now 2 locations, this one on E. Sixth and also one in the Hill Country Galleria.  Attentive service, a decent wine list, empanadas, nightly specials, fabulous desserts all in a cozy setting where you may be lucky enough to watch a couple dancing the tango.

There are four more places left on the list for us to try and I promise once we do, I’ll share our experiences with y’all.  While the bartenders may favor these places to go on their nights off or after work, it’s ironic that their choice of drink may be as simple as a shot of Fernet and a cold beer.

The list included: The Blackheart, Contigo, Drink.Well, Firehouse Lounge, Half Step, Midnight Cowboy, Tapasitas Tapas + Bar, Weather Up and Whisler’s.

Let us know where you enjoy your favorite cocktail.  Until next time, Cheers!

Be Sociable, Share!

Date Night Stroll

Jim is always trying to find ways to keep our date nights interesting and last night was no exception.  We began by parking the car just east of N. Lamar on West St. and W. Fifth.  Our intention was to walk west to see what that area of 6th and 5th Streets has to offer.

Whole Foods Bar

Whole Foods Bar

Our first stop was Whole Foods Market.  You may ask “why a grocery store?” and the answer is that Whole Foods is not your ordinary grocery store, it’s a destination.  We ambled over to the bar and ordered drinks and bought some sushi to nibble on.  The bar has a small list of bar food including a Spanish cheese plate listed for $7.

Onward west where we stopped in at 24 Diner on the corner of N. Lamar and 6th.  We didn’t stay just took a look at their menu, but promised to return.  Home style comfort foods on the menu with breakfast served 24/7.

Rounders Pizzeria

Rounders Pizzeria

Heading west we peered into the windows of shops closed for the night, past ZTejas a tried and true restaurant where we’ve been many times over the years.  We stopped in to take a look at the Rounders Pizzeria menu for future reference.  We were greeted by Chris who shared a bit about the making of his pies and the beer taps.  All the beers served here are from local brewers.  He even shared a new one with us and for some reason I can’t remember what it was.  We’ll be back Chris.

Farther west down 6th we passed a lot of refurbished bungalows which now house a countless array of salons, yoga studios, chiropractic, attorney and real estate offices. It wasn’t until we were nearly to Mopac when we came upon Third Base.  We didn’t stop this time, but have been in the past.  It’s a good place to catch a game, any type of game as it;s a sports bar with pretty decent food.

Time to head east on W. Fifth where there are a lot of new buildings and construction taking place.  A lot more trendy than the nearby 6th.  Sushi Zushi is along this stretch of store fronts, with nail salons, yoga studios, etc.  We thought we’d sample a sashimi plate and were surprised at the amount of fish presented, but disappointed in the overall atmosphere of the sushi bar itself.

Jim approached the iconic Donn’s Depot but balked at the door. Maybe another time. A bit farther up the street we wandered into Tacos and Tequila TNT.  The menu looked interesting and the bartender was engaging however the beer selection was boring – a few Mexican beers on tap along with a few domestics. Life’s too short to drink uninteresting beers, so we walked.  However there it is a tequila bar so we’ll be back some night to taste the nectar of the agave.

One little place and I mean little The Tiniest Bar in Texas has had my number for a long time.  For years we’ve been driving past and there it was just steps away.  Not much more than beer on the menu, a few on draft and a nice selection in cans and bottles.  There is a deck and a patio facing on to W.Fifth and the bartender said that the condo dwellers enjoy the patio which is along side Shoal Creek Trail.  A giant TV for sports fans is a bonus.

Back to the car to feed the meter so we could wander back up to W 6th and Rio Grande area where there is a lot more action than what we discovered farther west.  So many bars and restaurants to choose from, 219 West, Rio, Benji’s, J Blacks and Molotov to name a few. Most of these were patronized by the young hipsters even on a Thursday night.  Our final stop was at The Dogwood which has a nice outdoor bar and since it was the opening night of the NFL season the multiple screens were all tuned in to the game.

Austin has so many neighborhoods waiting to be explored on foot. Go on, take a walk on the wild side and see what you may uncover, maybe in your very own “hood”.

Be Sociable, Share!

Things to do in Austin – Zilker Hillside Theater

Brenda

Zilker Hillside Theater

Zilker Hillside Theater

For over 50 years the summer musical at the Zilker Hillside Theater has been one of the favorite things to do in Austin in the summer. This year’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” did not disappoint. Our game plan is to pack a small cooler with a picnic, arrive early to find our spot, place the blanket and then go cool off in the cool waters of Barton Springs Pool.  Just be aware that if you go on Thursday evening the pool is closed for cleaning until 7 PM. Glass and alcohol is prohibited however we see people enjoying wine and beer. As long as you are discreet no one should bother you. Parking is $5 and the show is free, however donations are gratefully received by the cast at intermission when they walk through the audience with buckets.

This year we were seated with Jim’s Mother in the handicap accessible area which is available for theater goers with special needs. It’s too late to catch the show this year and I don’t know what is planned for next year but you’ll have plenty of opportunity as the shows usually run for 5 weekends on Thursday-Sunday evenings beginning in mid July.

Jim

We’re a little late on this post due to serial procrastination, but it’s good info for next year. Here are a few tips…

  • 6:00 PM is the earliest you can put down a blanket without it being removed.
  • Barton Springs Pool is closed for cleaning until 7:00 PM on Thursdays. Seniors (62 and older) get in for $1.
  • After an hour of so in the water you’ll be cooled down enough to head over the show.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Things to do in Austin – Boats and Bats

Brenda

Bat flight in Austin TX

Bat flight in Austin TX

Last night was one of the very best date nights ever. Austin has the largest urban bat colony in North America which makes it’s home beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. and watching them emerge at dusk is one of the more popular things to do in Austin. We’ve witnessed their departure many times over the years, but never from the water. Jim arranged the rental of a canoe from Capital Cruises on the south side of Lady Bird Lake near the Hyatt Hotel and brought along a bottle of wine to enjoy. Rental rate for the canoe was $10 per hour, same for one person kayaks, $15 for a 2 person kayak.

We played tourists in Austin by stopping at the Hyatt’s lobby bar and started the evening with some appetizers and a drink. The bar and service were just what we expected from a hotel, however the sushi roll that we shared was definitely on par with better known sushi restaurants in town.

We stayed along the south shore of the lake, away from the larger cruisers full of people who were also scanning the bridge awaiting the emergence of the bats.  The bats did not disappoint. The first wave began to fly out around 8:05 PM to the delight of the viewers from above on the bridge, on both shorelines and for those of us on the water, it was a spectacular sight.

There are many places to view from land if boating isn’t your thing, or if you’d like to book a guided tour there are several options. Parking is available at the Austin American-Statesman parking lot just east of the bridge, at the Zilker lot to the west, or at the state parking garage across the street behind Threadgills.

Jim

Lady Bird Lake Austin TX

Lady Bird Lake Austin TX

Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin is the centerpiece of the city, and we don’t take advantage of it often enough. Although swimming isn’t allowed there are plenty of options for boating or just hiking along the shoreline on the hike and bike trail.

Captial Cruises is the best option for bat watching as they fly downstream and most of the other rental options are well upstream near the Barton Creek outlet. We paddled downstream a bit into the wind and tied up to a convenient grape vine while we waited for the bats to emerge. They come out in ‘shifts’, so stick around after they stop coming out and you’ll likely see more.

Be Sociable, Share!

Things to do in Central Austin

Brenda

drink.well neighborhood pub

drink.well neighborhood pub

Last night was date night again.  I often wonder how a week goes by so quickly, but they do and I always look forward to Thursday. I was trying to come up with something different to do this week when a friend suggested we try Drink Well in the North Loop area which is out of our usual range. I had already purchased tickets online for a movie at The Violet Crown and knew that traffic would be an issue so we got an early jump on the evening.

Drink Well is a cozy and friendly American pub with above ordinary bar food and cocktails skillfully crafted by enthusiastic bartenders. There is no wait staff so you order at the bar, pub style, and seat yourself. Happy hour is from 4-6 Tuesday-Friday offering $1 off appetizers and a fine selection of drink specials. We sat at the bar, ordered a couple of beers and while watching the bartenders create one masterpiece after another I realized we should have ordered cocktails. Next time.

We shared a few appetizers known as teasers, superbly crafted and artfully presented, yet unpretentious. The After Fifty crowd won’t feel out of place here. It’s not a seen and be seen kind of place but a neighborhood spot where the service is gracious and the sharing of quality food and handcrafted drinks will make you feel right at home.

Jim

Drink well cocktails

Drink well cocktails

This was a fun spot to try, but I’m not sure I’ll be in a hurry to go back. I didn’t think that the bartenders were very engaging. It seemed to me that they spent more time talking among themselves than with the customers. Of course given the age difference maybe that shouldn’t be surprising. They were playing 60’s music though, which was fun.

As Brenda said the focus is on cocktails here. From what we saw as we sat at the bar I’d guess that this would be a good place to experience some creative mixology.

Afterwards we headed downtown to see Much Ado about Nothing at the Violet Crown. This adaptation is a combination of the original text and modern settings and characters which sounds weird but works. Highly recommended.

Be Sociable, Share!