We’ve been waiting to check out Uptown Bar & Lounge for ages, but every time we rolled past, it was always going off, with a crowded bar, rawwwwwk music playing and general craziness. So when owner George Merino told us to stop by one night during a “quiet lull” in the proceedings — between the happy hour crowd and the evening rush — we did. And it was still crowded! This space that used to be Don’s John has never let up, it appears, since the grand opening.
And that’s a good thing for this strip of State Street. The Uptown offers a quieter back patio, but be warned: A majority of the nights, Epicurean Cowboy Catering is back here making tacos and pizza to order, so you might get hungry. We, however, had to focus on our cocktails. Megan Davis pours them, while George, his co-owner Jaime Melgoza, and their wives Kristy and Robin, created the drinks. The Pipino Sour is all spice (Tapatio!) and cucumber battling it out in a Collins glass with Tequila Avion as the base. It’s pretty tart, so for something sweeter, try the goblet-sized Uva Linda, which contains muddled grapes, lime, agave nectar and Ciroc vodka. But of all the cocktails we tried, the Uptown Girl was our favorite, despite it nearly being nixed because of our dislike of that earworm of a song by Billy Joel. This is a potent mix of vodka and gin, schnapps, fruit juice and raspberries. It was meant for a night on the patio, neither too sweet nor too sharp, and it’s our Drink of the Week!
3/4 ounce Stoli Razberi vodka
3/4 ounce Broker’s gin
1/2 ounce peach schnapps
Muddle raspberries in shaker with fruit juices. Add vodka, gin and schnapps, then add ice and shake. Strain into cocktail glass.
Yield: 1 drink
Uptown Bar & Lounge
3126 State St. 845-8800