Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Many people are unaware that there's an exclusive speakeasy located in the basement of the Next/Aviary building called the Office. When I say "exclusive", I mean the very definition of the word in that you can't just show up - admittance is by invitation only. Fortunately for those of us who are not VIPs, getting inside isn't all that difficult if you're a diner at Next. I read somewhere that the restaurant waitstaff will usually take you down there after your meal if you just ask nicely (and if they have room) and, lo and behold, this methodology worked for our table when we recently had the Hunt menu.
I'd always wondered where exactly the Office's entryway was - you can imagine my surprise when I realized that it's a simple, unmarked metal door with no knob (as it locks from the inside, someone has to open it for you) at the bottom of the stairs, right next to the bathrooms.
Once inside, you find yourself in a room not that much bigger than the kitchen at the Commissary (although it's much more tastefully decorated). There's a wooden bar behind which rest many, many bottles of top-shelf liquor, comfy couches/chairs, random paintings, and fairly low lighting (see photo above), a nice lounge environment in which to enjoy after-dinner drinks and civilized conversation (or some reasonable facsimile thereof).
Speaking of the drinks, they're not cheap. I had a difficult time identifying anything with a single digit price tag on the drink list, but if you can afford to eat highfalutin cuisine upstairs, presumably you can drop $18 on a good bottle of beer. This is exactly what most of our group did - 3 of the 4 of us opted for beers from Evil Twin, a Denmark-based microbrewery whose stock is quickly rising among hop enthusiasts. I chose the Yin, an American double/Imperial stout, while Mrs. Hackknife had a Yang, similar except an IPA (in case you're wondering, yes, they do offer a separate Yin & Yang bottling that combines the two brews into a Black & Tan). Had I imbibed here before dinner, I would have been tempted to get some Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and the $30 banana split, which is for 2 and is supposed to be phenomenal - maybe next time. Still, being able to hang out in the Office with good friends and a good drink was the perfect way to cap off the evening's festivities...