The City that Drinks: 2300

City Paper

Climbing the stairs from Myth and Moonshine to its second-floor sister bar, the jazzy speakeasy 2300, feels like an ascent to the 1920s: A sparkling chandelier dangles above the stairs; vintage furniture, such as a dark floral couch and a long church pew, create a lounge-y spot just off the top of the stairs; and New Orleans-style jazz spills from the speakers.

We’d normally opt to take advantage of sofa seating, but because the bar was devoid of other drinkers on a Tuesday evening last month, we settled in under the Edison lights at the large, dark-wood bar to chat with our bartender, Kelly, instead.

Like any good speakeasy, there’s plenty of brown booze to choose from. Bourbon and rye range from Bulleit to Dickel and Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye to Pappy Van Winkle 10 Year. For scotch drinkers, 2300 offers Famous Grouse, Talisker 10 Year, and Lagavulin 12 Year Cask Strength, among others.

We couldn’t resist the recently updated list of specialty cocktails. The Directory ($13), a shaken combination of Bulleit rye, St. Germain, and Cranberry moonshine that’s garnished with several moonshine-soaked cranberries, is a balanced and far-too-easy-to-drink cocktail (in the best of ways).The Pickwick Mule ($10) is made with lime, ginger beer, and Glendalough Poitin (which Kelly explained is a spirit that essentially began as Irish moonshine). Tart citrus flavors are balanced by the warmth of the ginger—this version of the mule has far more depth than most we’ve tasted.

From the classic cocktails list, the old-fashioned ($9) was on point. Kelly muddled orange with demerara sugar before adding our liquor of choice (we chose Maker’s Mark bourbon).

Kelly also educated us on the history of the Vieux Carre, a cocktail named for the French Quarter when it was invented in the 1930s by Walter Bergeron at the Monteleone Hotel. The Carousel Vieux Carre ($12) is almost an exact replica of the original drink with George Dickel Rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine liqueur, and Peychaud’s bitters, garnished with an orange twist. If you drink cocktails to avoid the taste of alcohol, this one is not for you, but it was our favorite of the night.

The bar has changed up the drink menu after customer feedback, and when we visited, the bartender told us 2300 had dropped the food menu for now to tweak and re-create for the same reason.

We stopped in on a recent Friday night, and the bar was again empty—the bartender told us that 2300 was closed for a private event. In fact, it’s closed most days now: He acknowledged that they’ve been having trouble filling the bar, so now it’s only open to the public on weekends. It still doesn’t have its own food menu, but Myth and Moonshine still serves food downstairs. The bartender said they’re hoping that by the end of the summer, 2300 will be able to re-implement its own food menu. 

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