After a summer-long hiatus, cocktail bar Dram & Grain is back in action. The reservation-only bar located in the basement of Jack Rose underwent some minor renovations and reopened quietly on Sept. 5.
Trevor Frye, beverage director at Jack Rose, says the first two weeks of service ran smoothly, and he says reservations are currently being accepted for Friday and Saturday seatings, but by text message only. The most noticeable changes: seating, menu and service times.
The renovation allowed for additional seating and a bar-top standing area for seven to eight people. Those opting to stand do not need a reservation, which may be a more flexible option for those looking to drop-in after dinner, Frye says. The standing room also doubles as a waiting area for those looking to get a table at the last minute.
"We can accept those looking for a quick drink. I don't like the term 'speakeasy,' and I want this to be a non-pretentious cocktail bar," he says.
What's not changing? Some of the bar's early favorite cocktails, like the Ode to Omaha, a smoked hickory rum cocktail that comes served in a glass orb and poured over a single cube of ice. Other drinks staying on the menu are The Maiden Voyage (a drink that starts out as a Sazerac and melts down into a Vieux Carre) and The Mother-In-Law (a pre-bottled bourbon drink that is flavored with Amer Picon, an orange-flavored aperitif produced by Frye).
But expect some new drinks too. The menu is growing from 16 to 30 cocktails and bartenders Justin Hampton and Andy Bixby from Jack Rose will be joining Frye downstairs. And, instead of ordering a single drink, patrons with a reservation can sample a set of cocktails each with a distinct flavor.
Those who are making reservations can choose from one of two menu options: a cocktail flight of six for $100 or the cocktail flight plus a supper plate for $120. The flights are meant to be split, two per guest, and each sample is about one third to half of what you would expect in a regular drink. Or, they can order a la carte with a two drink minimum.
Seatings will expand to two hour increments at 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11:30 p.m. Before the hour-and-a-half increments felt rushed, Frye says. On any night, the bar can do about 60-75 covers. "It ends up being a really good deal when you consider the variety and amount of cocktails that you get to try," Frye says. "Our goal is to give everyone a memorable experience with time to enjoy it, and it puts a lot more of the experience in the bartenders' hands."
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Editor's Note: This story did not originally include the a la carte option available.