Not much of scuzzy Scolari’s Office is left at The Office Bar (3936 30th St., North Park), but just below the revamped, shiny surface is a touch of the good-ol’ smut.
Tuesday night, May 3, marked the launch of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co.’s new weekly craft-cocktail night, Break Room @ The Office, and never has the bar appeared to be further from its punk-rock roots. Dressed in the obligatory suspenders and vests that have become synonymous with the invocation of Prohibition-era drinks and the contemporary craft-cocktail resurgence, Blind Tiger founders Dustin Haarstad and Jen Queen were busily bartending as patrons flipped through file-folder menus and live jazz filled the room.
The cocktail list was made to mimic a credit memo and it contained classy-sounding concoctions like the “CEO’s Sex Scandal” (vodka, watermelon ginger reduction, fresh watermelon, citrus and soda) and “Office Romance on the Rocks” (scotch, honey lavender syrup, citrus and champagne). I went with the Office Space reference and ordered the $8 “T.P.S.
Report” (gin, strawberries, fresh tarragon, citrus with a chartreuse rinse), a refreshing summery drink that was more berries than dragon’s wart, but good and girly nonetheless.
“We get most of our ingredients from the farmers market,” said Queen, who bartends at Searsucker when she’s not setting up pop-up speakeasies with Haarstad. “We make all our own reductions and try to use as many local and sustainable ingredients as we can.”
When I ordered another cocktail, I went with the more masculine “The Boss” (Casa Noble Anejo, Carpano Antica, chipotle mocha tincture topped with a mezcal-spritzed flamed orange). Haarstad, who works at URBN, mixed the $10 drink with flair, squeezing the orange, lighting a match and turning the peel into a miniature flamethrower.
“Isn’t it everything you’d imagine about a boss?” Queen asked as I slowly sipped the potent beverage. “Smoky, strong, and it has that coffee flavor.”
I couldn’t have described it better. I resisted the urge to order another and reached for my purse, only to discover a big black glob of chewed gum that had left its home under the bar and ended up on my thigh.
A tad disturbed, I paid my tab and headed toward the door. Haarstad caught up with me on the sidewalk outside.
“You know,” Haarstad said, “This thing all started because we really just wanted to be able to get a good craft cocktail in our own neighborhood.”
A young man lingering outside The Office interrupted Haarstad’s noble speech by puking in a planter nearby.
“Lovely,” he said. “I know I didn’t serve that guy.”