Traverse City’s bar scene needed some freshening up. With microbreweries popping up (literally) everywhere, establishments specializing in liquor cocktails were taking a backseat. Since their grand opening on December 5th, Low Bar is bringing Traverse City’s bar scene something it had been missing: variation.
Low Bar opened on December 5th; the anniversary of when Prohibition ended 80 years ago. It was started by 7 Monks Taproom owners, Matt Cozzens and Jim Smolak, with convenient placing directly below aforementioned beer haven. Low Bar is designed to look and feel like an old-fashioned speakeasy; and that is the exact vibe I felt when heading into this basement bar. It is dimly lit and adorned with couches, candles, and absolutely no natural lighting.
True to speakeasy fashion are the beverage concoctions of Low Bar. My first beverage was the Rose Branch. This is made with Four Roses Bourbon, ginger syrup, fresh lemon juice, and Angostura Bitters. It is then shaken and served over ice. Now, I generally dislike ice cubes. I dislike cold beverages in general, actually. Perhaps this is because I am used to bars that throw boring shards of ice in with every beverage. At Low Bar, however, the cubes are huge and perfectly shaped. It is this attention to detail that gives Low Bar the perfected edge that Traverse Citians had been craving.
I also had the pleasure of sampling the Kentucky Jam which uses Four Roses Bourbon, Carpano Vermouth, Merlot Brothers Cognac, house-made pumpkin jam, and hop bitters. It is then shaken and served without ice (ahh, warm beverages). The house-made pumpkin jam stands out subtly and delightfully, creating a very smooth bourbon beverage.
As you can see, the beverages are called concoctions for a reason. All are extremely unique and full of flavor, delightfully crafted by the employees and owners themselves. In addition to these creations, Low Bar features “classics” such as the old fashioned, Manhattan, and cosmopolitan. There are also small plates served for customers’ snacking pleasure. For the most part, it is a create your own meat and cheese board type of snack, but there is also a featured salad and beef carpaccio.
Like I previously mentioned, Low Bar is a one of a kind establishment in Traverse City (well, that I know of. There may be a real speak-easy somewhere that I am not privilege to). The calm ambiance and soft lighting is so refreshing and inviting, I could easily lounge on one of their couches for hours and sip some top shelf bourbon.
Have you been to Low Bar yet? What is your favorite concoction?