I love a good basement establishment – maybe it’s the speakeasy-feel of the bar, or the idea that you’re onto a good secret when you hop down a short flight of stairs to the front door – but there’s just something about the softly-lit places without the giant windows and signs that just gets me, and Bar Louis has to be near the top of whatever poorly-name “basement list” there might be out there.
The design might be modern, but the “subtle, timeless, and elegant” they were going for, has been achieved perfectly. Let’s start with its namesake, the bar. A little zebrawood, a great bottle set-up with backlighting, and a giant Makos photograph of Warhol and Lennon, and the “iconic” look your implying is noted. What’s more, the libations match the bar in quality – my Old Fashioned was delicious, and I’d bet Mere would agree about her Brandy Crusta – I’d guess it’s not a small feat to find a great bartender in a town of 1000.
Bar Louis doesn’t stop at the drinks, and the meal we were lucky enough to have reservations for (it’s was completely packed on a Saturday night) was simply fantastic. On a menu where virtually everything was a safe bet, I found myself reading the sidebar by Christopher Bates, the Executive Chef, about the reemergence of chicken as an ‘it’ food, and faithfully trusting his opinions and suggestions for the menu. The “get me” and “this is great” suggestions delivered on their promises, and Meredith with her Celeraic and Apple Salad and Pumpkin & Oregon White Truffle Risotto, and me with my Housmade Brandade and Local Red Chicken Coq au Vin, rolled back up to our room for a blissful, full-bellied evening of sleep. We will definitely be returning on our next trip to Hotel Fauchere.