If all the frills of today’s cocktail bars are wearing on you, it’s time to go back to basics at the Belmont Lounge. You’ll still have to brave the lines to get a seat, but once inside, you’ll find the crowds less overwhelming, creating an understated atmosphere that provides you with a venue for relaxing conversation with friends instead of a shouting match. A movie projector playing black-and-white film footage on the wall complements the mellow, ambient soundtrack that softly plays in the background.
Bartender Joey Ryan revealed his favorite cocktail to The Post and Courier: the Corpse Reviver No. 2. "It has Cointreau, gin, Lillet Blanc, a dash of absinthe, and lemon," Ryan said. "It's known as a hangover cure, hence, the name." The Off-Duty Bartender is another crowd-pleaser to try. They also make their own bitters, tonic water, and ginger beer in house, and squeeze fresh juice for each drink, giving the Belmont’s drinks a more authentic and unique taste.
Along with the signature cocktails mixed up by friendly expert bartenders, the bourbon and scotch play a starring role in this "liquor lab." "A lot of them were used in pre-Prohibition cocktails. They have spicier flavors and higher alcohol content," said Ryan, whose favorite is the Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey.
If you have the munchies, you can snack on an assortment of cheeses and meats, including fresh-cut salami. If you have a sweet tooth, try the Belmont’s homemade Pop-Tart dessert with Nutella and banana to cap off your evening.