There's nothing like stepping into a joint and getting a big whiff of that new bar smell.
Such promise awaits a place with a fresh layer of lacquer and a wall lined with full liquor bottles. So many conversations to be had, delicious drinks to be drank.
In this case, our promising newbie is a classy cocktail and wine bar named . Though the golden-lit hangout has both location and management in common with its predecessor Long Tan, it is something entirely different: a sophisticated establishment where oldies play softly in the background and one is entitled to a quality drink and an intimate conversation.
Ultimately comfort was the goal for Regina Christiansen who co-owns the place with Rory Dwyer (of , Sharlene's, and ) and designed Blueprint's drink menu.
"Fifth Avenue had a gaping whole," she said. "I like to go out and have a really nice glass of wine and have a little snack, but not feel like I can't show up in a T-shirt."
Christiansen has special experience in this department. While working on the construction for Blueprint with Dwyer, she often went to wine tastings in her work clothes.
"I probably tasted over 200 wines in two weeks," she said, "I was showing up at these things with sheet dust in my hair and paint all over my pants."
In addition to curating a very purposfully succinct list of wines from Europe, Christiansen also created nine refreshing cocktails that fit well with the old-timey vibe of the bar but also offer something new in the way of taste.
Most notable are the Oaxacan ($13)—a smokey Los Nuahales mezcal concoction of buckwheat honey, cinnamon and lime juice—and the Haymaker's Punch ($9), a mix of bonded apple brandy, lemon, cider vinegar, honey, and fresh ginger. The former is fantastic side path in the way of spirits, though an unfriendly choice for appletini addicts. The latter is a much more accessible summer refreshment that expertly balances bitter and sweet.
As for beers, Christiansen made sure not to step on High Dive's toes and kept her selection simple and sweet: Kelso, Sixpoint, Ommegang and $20 bottle of French cider just for kicks.
Of course, the drink menu will change as Christiansen sees fit. In fact, Blueprint has only been open two weeks and she's already reprinted the food menu (comprised of mostly meats and cheeses and designed by Little D Eatery's Colin Wright) six times.
"I'll have gone to the market and picked up some tomatoes so let's do this," she said. "I get very easily bored so I'm always trying to do something different."