I am not really a fan of grappa drank as shots but hearing about the grappa-based cocktails made me curious to try them.
Bar 888 is on 888 Howard St. inside the newly opened Intercontinental Hotel. Because the hotel lobby has this open layout, one can walk from the hotel lobby to Bar 888 and get to the restaurant Luce without noticing it. The interior design is modern and chic. What I like about it is that it is not noisy and not overly crowded even on a Thursday night.
The hostess sat us right away and our server came by with these delicious spiced nuts. Why is it that anything served on the house at restaurants or bars are delicious? Is it just a switch in my brain everytime it hears the word free? Anyway, I think we've asked for these nuts more than twice.
Bar 888's cocktail menu is long. Since I've been curious about grappa-based cocktails, my goal for that night is to try one or two. Grappa is made in Italy and is sort of a clear brandy that came from grape left over during winemaking. I've been told that it is served primarily as a digestive or an after-dinner drink - to aid in digestion. It is one of the more potent hard drinks I've had. I remember I actually felt it going down from my throat down to my stomach and then a head rush. However, I've not had a cocktail made of grappa.
I decided to get When in Rome which consisted of bertagnolli moscato grappa, limoncello and freshly squeezed orange juice and raspberries. It was citrusy and refreshing. They may have gone overboard with the salt on the glass rim but that's fine. Because the cocktail is on the tarty side, I can still feel the strength of grappa in the drink. Maybe a sweeter drink might have masked the grappa a bit? I also liked what Jim and Jose ordered - the Moscone Pear 12. It has texture which I think added a layer in the drink. Mijo ordered 5:15 to Bangkok which is very strong and also citrusy and refreshing.
Since none of us had dinner yet, we decided to order a couple of bar bites. What I like about the bars in the city is that they also serve high quality small plate orders. Mijo and I haven't been to the restaurant next door but I wonder if Bar 888 shares the same kitchen? These bar bites are worthy of a separate blog, by the way.
These fries are seasoned with hebs and parmesan cheese.
These sliders are Asian inspired sloppy Joe's! These were my favorites that night.
The meatballs were served with shavings of parmesan cheese. The meatball is big enough to be split between two people.
These grilled white cheddar cheese were crunchy and with hints of honey. We ordered these last, when we were almost already full. These were also my favorites that night.
For my second drink, I decided to try Dogzilla which was named after Larry Ellison's trimaran sailboat. An America's Cup award winner, this drink consists of nardini aqua di cedro grappa, aperol, cointreau, grapefruit and blood orange. This was the winner for me! Just the right balance of sweetness and citrus flavors.
Because of their large dining room, Bar 888 is perfect for catchup with friends over delicious and well crafted cocktails. The service was super attentive. The boys loved it too. I would come here again.