By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
I love fine dining restaurant bars. Here I can pop in and eat and drink well without having to reserve a table in the dining room. Or when I do have reservations, a relaxing before dinner drink at the bar extends the evening on the front end.
Satterfield’s bar is one of the best in town. It is separated from the restaurant by a wall and its own entry, yet it has the same upscale ambience. It opens at 4 p.m. Monday throughSaturday. Happy hour lasts until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday with cocktail, beer, and wine specials. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. Reservations may be made for a table or booth in the bar area. The full dinner menu is available at the bar top, with first-come, first-served seating. Live music is played here on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., with Glen Butts on Wednesday and Carlos Pino and Brandon Peoples on Friday evenings. Two 40-inch TVs please the sports fans. The bar is available for private functions, ideal for 20 to 36 people.
Tonight we dash in just before a storm, and beverage director Noah McCullough handcrafts three popular cocktails for us: Oak Aged Manhattan, Blackberry Mojito, and Senior Rhum Fizz. At the end of the bar, four small oak kegs hold aging Manhattan’s Four Roses Bourbon. Served in a frosty glass, this cocktail is golden brown in color and also includes Antica Formula sweet Vermouth, brandied cherries, orange bitters, and Angostura Bitters over a large ice sphere, and is garnished with a brandied cherry and orange peel. As we sip this dark and smooth drink, it begins to pour outside.
Next, we taste the Blackberry Mojito, which proves to be one of the best cocktails I have ever tasted. Along with fresh in-season blackberries, it is also made of a rum new to the Birmingham market, Don Q Cristal. McCullough teaches me that Petite Canne Sugar Cane mixes well with rum. He prefers it to simple syrup for rum drinks. McCullough is an expert on rum, so Satterfield’s has a unique collection of specialty varities of it lining the bar. This cocktail also includes Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacoa and Angostura bitters. It is served in a frosty, tall glass on the rocks, and is garnished with blackberry and mint. This mojito is deep purple in color, refreshing, and bursting with blackberry flavors.
The Fizz is a unique drink that is shaken in a martini shaker and also includes a rum new to Alabama, Rhum Neisson, as well as El Dorado three-year Demerara rum. Other components include a lovely blue Genuine Curaçao Liqueur, which is one of the only liqueurs made of the peels of the Laraha, the bitter orange native of Curaçao. It also includes egg whites, cream, Petite Canne Sugar Cane Syrup, and Angostura Bitters. It is light lime green in color with a frothy white top. But don’t let its creamy looks fool you, one sip proves it to be a serious cocktail. As the rain beats down, we find Satterfield’s bar a cozy place to settle in, so we ask to see a dinner menu.