The walk from the alleyway, through the door featuring the handmade 81/2 x 11 sign that simply says backbar, down the elementary school-esque hallway and through the unmarked door into the dimly lit room buzzing with cool had me sketched out until I was met by the smiling face on the other side who was wearing a prohibition era outfit (gray pants and matching vest, light colored shirt and red tie). Finding my group a perfect place to kick back was an easy task for bar manager, Sam, even though the place was in full swing.
Seating comes complete with wooden stools that look like the empty shipping crates I’d imagine bootleggers used to transport their stuff “Boardwalk Empire” style in the 1920’s. The clientele is more hipster than flapper and the music more 1980’s than 1920’s but the ice comes in chunks in the creative cocktails they serve. More than a step away from the ordinary tequila and lime based “traditional” was that evening’s Milk Punch– a Sweet Potato Margarita with a Sriracha salt rim. A spicy cup of industrial strength goodness that left me wondering just how they managed to create such a melodious combination from seemingly unaffiliated ingredients.
But beyond the booze was the star of the night, the food. backbar’s bar snacks beat out any I’ve ever had. Affiliated with its neighbor, the fabulously seasonal/local joint Journeyman, Backbar has a culinary advantage over the competition. Their Spicy Caramel Popcorn is a perfectly sweet and spicy snack to keep your cravings at bay, and the Charcuterie made me want to order more. However, it is The Taste of Journeyman that should not be overlooked as it is the STAR of the all bar snacks- a sampling of Journeyman’s daily menu that let’s Backbar patrons sample the cuisine that makes Journeyman so special without the Journeyman price tag.