Metro-081215-Barkeep2When I hear the word “tavern,” the words “hip” or “trendy” aren’t typically the first to come to mind. So when my friends told me Livestock Tavern, located in Chinatown at 49 N. Hotel Street, was THE place to be, I knew I had to scope things out for myself. After learning it was booked solid for weeks, you can imagine my excitement when my reservation finally came up.

A very plain brick exterior with few bells and whistles (I walked right past it … TWICE!), the inside of Livestock Tavern is industrial, yet intimate — it was like walking into an oasis where modern chic meets restored classics. The setting paired perfectly with the chorus of drink shakers behind the bar and oldies hits playing overhead.

A seasonal, American eatery with a full bar — including hand-crafted spirits, small production beers and classic cocktails — I couldn’t wait to get started.

When an establishment offers hand-crafted spirits, you start there. I chose The Great Bambino (pictured), an infusion of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, blackberries, rosemary, lemon juice and black tea. It was everything I dream of in my perfect cocktail recipe: refreshing at first sip with a kick-in-the-pants aftertaste. I loved the use of black tea with rosemary, and it went down nicely alongside the saffron aioli that was used to garnish the crab cakes I ordered.

Impressed by the cocktail, I knew I had to give the bartender my ultimate test and order my go-to dessert drink — a White Russian — before heading out. Creamy, rich and with no shortage of liquor, their take on the White Russian was just how I like it.

Whether you’re stopping in for happy hour drinks with friends or bringing a crowd for dinner (make reservations in advance!), Livestock Tavern needs to be on your list. With mixologists this good, you’ll be drinking ‘til the cows come home…