Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires, 5/25/19

line to get in
line to get in

Cafe Tortoni dates back to 1858 and moved to its present location in 1880 but has long been a part of Buenos Aires history.  A French style place where artists and scholars visited in the early 1920s it now hosts regular tango shows as well as serving up coffee, alcohol and a good variety of fresh pastries and snacks.  But this did not seem to be a place to have a meal, more just a drink and snack and people watch or to absorb some of the atmosphere.   It is typical to find a line to get in but the line moved quickly and we were in soon.  I read about a large basement room but didn’t get to see it.  There was a room more like a library filled with books and mementos.  The whole place was filled with stuff – photos, trophies, books, stained glass lamps, art and small marble tables.  There is a Tiffany glass ceiling and a collection of Tiffany lamps on top of the service area.  If you need to take some of the place with you there is a large number of souvenirs for sale. Continue reading

Bar Plaza Dorrego, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

IMG_1589
building

Bar Plaza Dorrego is good sized and right across from the plaza where tango dancers perform and vendors sell trinkets.  It has been around a long time – I found one photograph dated 1904 – and the walls and furnishings look like they have not been replaced in a long while.  It is full of character.  The large u-shaped bar is the centerpiece of the room and the tables wrap around the walls.  Windows are on a couple sides as the building as it’s on a corner.  Photos line the wall and the bar is stocked with liquors and coffee.  The staff were friendly and welcoming.  We only stopped for coffee but it came with a little bowl of delicious amaretto cookies to snack on.  They do offer sandwiches, steaks and pastires, but most people were just drinking.  It felt like history surrounded us and was a wonderful place to pass a few restful moments. Continue reading

F Street Station Bar and Grill, Anchorage, 8/4/18

exterior
exterior

F Street Station Bar and Grill opened the bar an hour before the grill.  It was established in 1944 as the Mur-Mac Lounge and is the “oldest downtown Anchorage bar still in its original location.”  Apparently it was a favorite of aviators serving the bush community as well as workers in the federal building across the street.  After the 1964 earthquake the building it was in had to be replaced with the F Building.  The current owners bought it in 1983 and renamed it the F Street Station and added the grill.   It was still a favorite with pilots, of which there are many in Anchorage.  There are 2 bar areas and several high top tables all appointed with padded stools that swiveled.  The walls were filled with patches and other airline things.   They feature a number of locally brewed beers on tap as well as a full bar.  The people were very friendly.   Continue reading

The Mitchell, Dallas, 3/3/18

exterior
exterior

The Mitchell is located in downtown Dallas.  It has the feel of a bar with tables rather than the reverse.  I had read another person’s glowing write up of this more casual French place that would be a good option to the more formal ones newly ‘opened’ and recently written up here.  Unfortunately when we got there the chef in the write up was gone and another had assumed his duties and changes had been made to the menu.  Not sure these were good changes.  The place has elegant chandeliers and a silent TV boxed in by the giant bar.  They are short on wine selections but have about any liquor you’re looking for.  Tables are small dark wood and seating is upholstered black chairs and a curving black banquette.  There are also a number of seats at the bar.  Service was friendly and efficient but I might have preferred if they’d spaced the serving of the dishes due to the size of the tables.   Continue reading

Cervecería Pittu, Madrid, 1/21/18

entrance
entrance

Cervecería Pittu has about 8 small tables inside along the bench seat walls.  A half dozen bar stools also are inside and there is a lot of patio seating.  The place has lots of brown wood, mementos on the walls and several televisions playing sports.  Paper napkins and mats set up the tables.  Service was friendly but with limited English.  The menu is large and most seemed to be eating rather than just there to drink.  There is a different price for things served on the terrace (higher) than inside and several items come in half and whole size.   Continue reading

La Taberna Del Rey, Seville, 1/20/18

exterior
exterior

La Taberna Del Rey was close to our hotel down one of the countless winding streets in Seville.  It is a really tiny place that had only been open 9 months but it belongs to a family with another place in town that has been around 9 years.  It was very neat with a few small tables and several stools at a counter.  They serve enough food to get a reasonable snack and have a huge array of beverages.  The owner was behind the counter and he couldn’t have been friendlier.   It is an incredibly cozy place with classical music in the background, low lights where all feel welcome.   Continue reading

Dos D Mayo, Seville, 1/19/18

entry
entry

Dos D Mayo is a large tapas bar with plenty of both indoor (high top and regular height tables) and outdoor seating.  It is an old school kind of place, no waiters – you order at the counter and they will bring it out if it’s not too busy.  A beautiful tile floor and dispensers of paper napkins are the room set up.  Two sides of the interior are windows to the crowded streets outside.  It has a large menu and one also available in English with pictures.  We stopped for just a quick snack.  Maybe it was the un-inviting atmosphere that made the food here seem to have no soul. Continue reading

En La Espero Te Esquina, Seville, 1/18/18

exterior
exterior

En La Espero Te Esquina is a deceptively large place, but you wouldn’t guess it by the windows to the street.  It is on one of the little tangled streets we walked through and stopped in for a snack and a glass of wine.  It was pretty empty late in the evening but they do have a kitchen that cooks food to order and a fair selection of beverages.  The menu was on a chalkboard and included many options we saw at other places.  You placed your order at the counter and he brought it out to you.  The guy working there did not speak much English and less than friendly, but in his defense he seemed to do much better with those that spoke fluent Spanish.   Continue reading

Alvaro Peregil – La Goleta, Seville, 1/17/18

exterior
exterior

Alvaro Peregil – Tavern La Goleta, was started as a wine store by the great- grandfather of Alvaro, whose father was a flamenco singer.  It is a very small tavern with an old mahogany bar and several standing counters in and outside.  The popular beverage here is orange wine or Vinos de Manzanilla  from the little town of Huelva.  This drink was introduced by Alvaro’s uncle who owned the tavern for 60 years.  Now orange wine is sold in many taverns but this is the original.  They have a small selection of tapas and memories covering all the walls.  The folks working there are very friendly as are the other guests in the establishment.  Even if you don’t want to make a meal here do stop by and try this unique wine.  It is not orange or sweet but does have an unusual flavor that is fun to try.   The family owns some other places in town but this one opens every afternoon and stays open till 30 minutes after midnight.   Continue reading

The Parlor on Commerce, Dallas, 1/2/18

exterior
exterior

The Parlor on Commerce is a good sized bar in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas with food as well as drinks.  They’ve been open 13 months and the wine list is limited but they have a good supply of beers and hard liquors.  The kitchen also turns out some pretty tasty food to go for or to snack on while drinking.  The folks at the bar, bartender and guests, are super friendly and the place does have lots of counter seats as well as a number of tables.  The finish out of the interior has lots of interesting objects around as well as art.  The owner, Seth Byars, is a Star Wars buff so watch for some articles from that theme.  Also check out the boxcar flooring that was made into the bar counter and the basketball flooring that is now the bar’s flooring.   Continue reading

Here, Dallas, 11/4/17

neon sign
neon sign

Here is a good sized, very stylish bar and restaurant.  The small, closely set tables are in the middle of the lowly lit room.  Around the edges are cozy round booths that match the elegant large arc shaped bar.  Comfy chairs and bar seats finish out this amazing looking space that is located in a very non-descript strip shopping center.  The menu offers a range of small plates and larger ones but the beverage service is mostly liquor.  Portions run on the large side, so be prepared to split even the small plates.  A good selection of beers is available but the wine list is very small (one thing that would really improve this place). Continue reading

Liguria Bar, Santiago, 6/24/17

exterior
exterior

Liguria Bar is a huge place where drinks are the main part of the huge menu.  Upon entering there is a long bar with stools and a selection of cozy tables surrounded by walls covered with pictures and divided by some partitions.  As you venture back, you pass the kitchen and then it opens up to a lovely airy back room with a high ceiling but again the walls are covered with art.  There are stairs leading up to another level from there.  They offer not only full cocktail service but a wonderful selection of wines, by the glass, bottle, 175cc or 430 cc. Their delicious food choices are fairly heavy, designed to soak up a fair amount of alcohol.  They have some snacks and sandwiches that are offered all the time but also have a list of daily plates.   Continue reading

Kounty Quarthouse, South Range, WI, 2/16/17

img_6333
building

Kounty Quarthouse is a large bar/restaurant just outside of Superior, Wisconsin.  They were featured on the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives TV show and got quite a bit of notice from that, however they sold a little over a year ago.  The sale did include all the recipes and information that got them the original notice, but maybe some soul is missing because the inventors are no longer running the show?  Even though the sign indicates otherwise, they only take cash and checks right now. Continue reading

The Other Place, Iron River, Wisconsin, 1/5/17 & 2/18/17

img_8731
Building

The Other Place, or as it’s commonly known the O-P, is right next to the grocery store on the main road in Iron River.  It’s been through a number of owners but for as long as I’ve known it, it offers an array of burgers, sandwiches and fried snacks.  The large room has been re-done in past years to cover it with light wood and add better TVs.  There are lots of tables, hi-tops and regular, as well as counter seating at the large bar.  Right on the ‘corridor’ it gets lots on snowmobile and ATV traffic. It is cash only.  The staff are friendly and the manager Morgan Kalk is often in the open kitchen cooking.   Continue reading

Lakewood Landing, An Upscale Dive, Dallas, 1/1/17

img_2223
building

Lakewood Landing has been around a long time – I can’t seem to find out how long – but a while to be sure. The exterior is non-descript with a newish wooden patio facing the street that was added when the smoking ban happened and an iconic sign advertising their contradictory status of  being both “upscale” and a “dive”.  Inside is a long bar separated from the tables by a wooden railing, a separate room with couch and pool table, and the dining room with a few well used booths and standing tables.   Continue reading

L’avant Comptoir De La Mer, Paris, 12/1/16

img_7356
exterior
L’avant Comptoir De La Mer is a small stand room only place next to Relais Saint-Germain. It is the newest addition to the series of restaurants that he has opened and this one serves only seafood snacks. Always full of friendly people, nice staff and tasty food it is a perfect place to pass a little time and enjoy good wine and snacks. We were there to try their oysters and the manager fixed us a tray of many different varieties.   All very fresh there were different textures but a similar brininess to all. If you want meatier snacks just pop next door. Continue reading