On a recent trip to NYC, I went to a speakeasy that serves cocktails so amazing, people are willing to do crazy things to drink them. Like knocking on a door and putting their name on a list and then waiting for hours for a text that may or may not ever come just to get inside the door. And after getting inside, being ushered straight into the kitchen to hang out for a while and watch the bartenders create simply remarkable cocktails before finally being led to a cozy, secluded couch to sip in wonderment.
I never thought I'd experience anything even remotely similar back home in Columbus. Until I stepped foot in Curio at Harvest. The new bar attached to the German Village pizzeria doesn't have any of the silliness of special knocks and never-ending waiting lists, but it sure does have the same speakeasy vibe and mindblowing cocktails. Curio technically is doubling as a spillover waiting room for the teensy Harvest Pizzeria, but it's neat enough to also be successful as a stand-alone bar and a place for bartender/owner Travis Owens (formerly of Giuseppe's) to grow. If you didn't catch our writeup on Travis in the May issue of Crave, read it here.
Here's the first one I tried, the Waylon Margarita. It starts with Milagro Silver Tequila then gets its shocking neon-green hue from a delicious ginger-kale juice, rounded out by lime, orange liqueur and agave nectar. It's rimmed in a remarkable smoked salt that infuses each sip with the scent of campfire. It's nothing short of magical.
Glance down the bartop and you'll see all the fresh citrus fruits used to make this cocktail and others like it, plus a collection of bitters and syrups and everything else that makes them special. I love all of the little decor details, like water glasses etched with wheat (fitting with the "harvest" theme) and a fantastic antique cash register.
Here's a peek at the cocktail list. I also tried sips of the smoke-infused Hickory Stick (a manly drink if I've ever had one--certainly not a bad thing) and the Room with a Grand View, the awesomely named Watershed Gin cocktail with a citrusy kick. Can't wait to make my way through the whole list.
Curio at Harvest
495 S. Fourth St., German Village