Tuesday night was preview night at The Archer and as far as first impressions go, the staff at The Archer nailed it. Technically, this was The Archer’s second “test” night (following its impromptu opening on Saturday night) and although there wasn’t a full cocktail menu, everything I sampled was great.
The trial menu featured six beers and three specialty cocktails, each made with a different High West spirit. (Full disclosure: the High West cocktails were complimentary). High West Distillery is a small-batch distillery based in Park City, Utah. I don’t consider myself a whiskey expert, but it’s worth noting that the Whisky Advocate called the High West Double Rye a “must-try for rye whiskey aficionados.” It’s a blend of two straight whiskeys: a young 2-year old high rye content whiskey and a 16-year old rye whiskey.
I tried two of the specialty cocktails — the Monte Carlo and the Blinker — each perfectly crafted. The Monte Carlo featured High West Double Rye Whiskey, Benedictine, and angostura bitters. It was spicy and bold without being too overpowering. The type of cocktail you can nurse throughout the night. The Blinker, which features High West Double Rye Whiskey, grapefruit, and raspberry syrup, highlighted the tamer and lighter side of the rye whiskey. The Blinker was more my style, an excellent after dinner cocktail and one that goes down easy. Perhaps too easy. I also tried a High West Manhattan, which was among the best Manhattans I’ve had in recent memory. It was a little woodsy with a very clean aftertaste.
As for the Archer’s interior, the space is nothing like the old Box Spring restaurant. The Archer is dimly lit with a dark mahogany, hunter’s lodge vibe. There’s a spacious bar area/counter up front and next to the bar you’ll find a row of booths and tables. The staff was very friendly and attentive and as I said — the drinks were spot on. Without a doubt, it’s an excellent addition to the neighborhood. The Archer’s grand opening (along with a full cocktail, beer, and food menu) is slated for Friday night. In the meantime, below are a few shots I managed to take in between drinks.
The Archer | 176 Newark Avenue (btwn Bay Street & Jersey Avenue) | www.archerbar.com