Such is the case with two new-ish bars out here on Long Island: The Cortland of Bay Shore and Tap and Barrel of Smithtown. Both are riding the wave of the craft beer and local booze movement that seems to be sweeping through the Island. With daily craft beer specials, local booze and food focused events, and relaxed atmospheres, both are offering a new definition of what it means to be a truly "local" bar. Regardless of my love of cheap beer and shot specials, I've got to admit that I am seriously digging this locally focused sea change.
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Perched on shelves behind the bar, glowing glass jugs steep experiments of grand infusion. Each season, Bobby and his brother infuse their own vodkas with whatever is fresh. Bobby explained that it's been an on-going hobby for them and so was just natural to offer in their bar. We were so curious (and Bobby so encouraging), we had to try each one much to our buzzed amusement. The butternut squash, cinnamon, vanilla bean vodka mixed with apple cider transported us immediately to fall leaves and thanksgiving. Next, a blueberry, grape, and hops (that's right, hops) vodka mixed with white cranberry played with a sweet meets tart theme finishing with hoppy bitterness. And lastly, mineola tangerine and basil vodka finished us off and honestly, at this point in the tasting, I don't remember what it was paired with- but needless to say, it was just as good as the rest!
All in all, the boys at The Cortland are doing it right and have crafted a great bar. This is yet another spot I'd love to pack up and put just down the street. But luckily, it's worth the adventure too.
Tap and Barrel
|Photo: Tap and Barrel|
Beyond the taps (I know it's hard to ignore them), nightly live music, beer specials, and brewer talks are only the beginning to this brand spanking new temple of beer-ness. Simply worth a visit because you can't find nearly as many beers anywhere else (in the LI area, at least). If you get hungry while you're there, try out Ciro's Pizza a couple stores down (taken word of mouth- apparently it's pretty good.) So...all the craft beer you could ever want plus some decent pizza...that's the making of a pretty great food adventure if I ever heard one. Happy adventuring!