Pssst….have you visited the bar car at the Katz Club yet? Our new speakeasy, on Lee Road is getting quite the buzz lately. Imagine a sleek, hand crafted, Cary Grant, gibson in a wifi world kind of place. A Raymond Chandler mystery, and mahogany bar top, with ice tinkling in a highball glass sort of place. Our restored authentic pullman era dining car/lounge has an awesome vibe…a little retro, a little chic, and definitely clubby. With a great little menu of bespoke cocktails, champagne, freshly shucked oysters, fine cheeses and creative small plate snacks it’s the perfect evening prelude, night-cap destination or hang-out. Step inside and you’ll feel transported. The soft dramatic lighting, and flickering candlelight will make you long for your favorite classic cocktail-a good thing because bar manager Eric Mattimore stands ready to help you with just that.
We stopped by recently for a little chat with Eric and our award winning mixologist Lorilei Bailey.
Eric and Lorilei -favorite things about the bar car?
Eric: I love the passion we bring to the cocktail experience. We try to focus on the small details that make both the drinks and the experience unique!
Eric: Just like at fire, you’ll find the same made from scratch ethos and fresh farmers market ingredients in both our bar and our kitchen. We make our own tonic water, our own lime cordial for gimlets-we even make our own ice.
Ice-what do you mean?
Eric: Well you know those little cubes that come out of an ice machine-they really don’t do the job. Ice not only chills a drink, but as it melts it becomes a part of the mix. It deserves to be more than an after-thought. Our “homemade” ice is special. We freeze clear filtered water in huge blocks so we get crystal clear ice. When you order your drink we hand shave, chip, or chisel your ice into the perfect size and shape to complement your drink from that huge block. Order a top-notch craft bourbon and we’ll fashion a nice large ice sphere to chill your drink without quickly diluting it. Blocks go into our pitcher drinks (we offer martinis and Manhattan by the pitcher). It’s a small detail but no one else does it. It ‘s one small thing that adds to the quality of our drinks.
Lorilei: Yes it’s all about the details, like our tonic water. We make it each week with pure cane sugar, lemon grass, fresh lime and quinine bark. It’s so bright and flavorful. Lots of guests order it straight on ice with a little orange juice-you don’t even need the gin. I also really love our champagne program. Champagne and chilled oysters are one of Doug’s favorites. Thus you’ll notice bottle prices on our sparkling wines are super affordable, at just retail markup not the more typical triple tariff you usually find. And each week we feature a different oyster variety. They are always super fresh and delicious.
Eric: For us it’s all about the experience. We offer some great events. Wednesday nights our cocktail classes have really caught on. We do a relaxed tasting, themed to a particular cocktail or spirit. We taste, we talk, we laugh. It’s just $20.00 and you get to try some great drinks and spirits and learn as well. Thursday night is our “industry night” we invite all our culinary comrades (on Thursday night everyone is a culinary comrade) in for $3.00 Oranjebooms (the unofficial beer of Dutch soccer hooligans), $7.00 Grand-Dad old fashions, $4.00 Fernet Branca shots and $1.00 ginger beers. And our hours, Wednesday through Saturday from 8 pm till 1 am mean we’re always here for a late night visit.
And visit we will. Thanks Eric and Lorelei.
This Friday 10/4 Friday at The Katz Club Diner bar car at 7:30 pm, Dave Rigo co-founder of Watershed Distillery will be on hand for a tasting. Just $10 and no reservations. Come by and taste some great Ohio spirits.
The Katz Club bar is located at 1975 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. Be sure to enter the bar car through the side door to the right of the main entry-look for the night light!
post by Amy Viny