Last night Drew put on a tie and I freshened my lipstick and we hit up Albany’s new Speakeasy. We rang the doorbell, were buzzed in and went back in time about 90 years. It was a quiet evening and we had table reservations. We quickly discovered it was a good move to put Drew in a tie (and my friends would likely argue I should’ve worn high heels but I just can’t do it). The patrons and the wait staff were all incredibly good-looking and well dressed. Ties aren’t necessary, a nice collared shirt and jacket would do the trick as well. Our waitress was impossibly beautiful and appropriately styled for the period. Everyone on staff really seemed to enjoy their roles and we felt warmly welcomed. Also, the stone bar, brick and stone walls were incredible. The little kerosene lamps on the hive patterned tabletops were also a nice touch. The smell of kerosene really added to the atmosphere.
Drew started with a Jack Rose, a boozy appley drink that was a perfect balance of sweet and tart – like a good apple. I had the Smoking Bluegrass. The bartender came to the table, set a small pile of lemongrass alight and set my glass over the top to take in the smoke while he put his cocktail shaker to work. It smelled (and tasted) magnificent! We ordered a dozen oysters and a meat and cheese plate. Maybe I’m just hardcore and prefer my oysters plain, so I wasn’t wowed by the vermouth based mignonette. I also thought it was a small misstep that their oysters were sourced from the west coast. We’re a mere 3 hour drive from excellent oyster territory, if I’m eating raw oysters I want to be as close to the source as possible for freshness. The charcuterie and cheese plate was thoughtful, if on the small side. It included my favorite cheese, Berkshire Blue. Generally I love surprise tastings of new cheeses and meats but I suppose I’m starting to eat enough different cheeses that I’m bound to run into something I know from time to time! They had another hard cheese that was cumin spiced that was really wonderful and I cannot recall the name! Three pieces of prosciutto was a little scarce for the meat portion but it was still tasty. The toast and the apple chutney rounded out the plate and the chutney had a nice little kick to it that sneaks up on you!
Our second round of drinks were just as enjoyable as the first. Drew tried the Corpse Reviver, a delicious blend of gin, lillet, curacao and lemon or lime juice. Again, the perfect blend of sweet and tart resulted in a refreshing and satisfying cocktail. This time I went for the Triple Threat…a mezcal based drink with muddled jalapeño and included a pickled chunk of pineapple. Woohee! It had a terrific kick to it and finishing it off with that pickled pineapple was savory but also cooling. This place is all about finishing touches.
The cocktails were all $12, so between those and the food we made it out for $90 plus tip. This place is CASH ONLY so don’t leave home without it. Go here for reservations: http://speakeasy518.com/
We had such an incredible time we didn’t want the evening to end (but had limited cash!) so we meandered upstairs to enjoy the credit card accepting, City Beer Hall. If you saw a couple of questionable Tweets in my timeline you can see that this where I crossed my line from fun to too much fun. Those cocktails finally hit me as I was about halfway through my Evil Twin Falco. I’ve tried every Evil Twin beer I can get my hands on since falling in love with the Evil Twin Soft Dookie I tried at CBH last year. I also saw Falco as a sign thinking of Edie Falco who is probably in deep mourning for the loss of her TV husband, James Gandolfini. So we had a toast to the Sopranos. That beer was bright, citrusy and full of delicious hops. Really nice for summer drinking. We ordered the truffle popcorn (AMAZING) and a couple of pizzas. I became friendly with “Rebecca” who was sitting next to me, enjoying her first evening ever at CBH. I hope my hiccups weren’t too off-putting!
Kudos to the folks at CBH for a couple of really fantastic and unique Albany experiences. And thanks once again to the fine folks at CDTA who get us home safe and sound each and every time!! I suppose since I’m doing my thank you speech I’m also gonna give a shout out to my middle-of-the-night go-tos: water and vitamins. And also to greasy bacon and eggs, coffee and Reed’s Ginger Brew – I wouldn’t be here today without you guys!