The new Oak Street bar from the owners of Yellow Brick Pizza blends past, present and future.
Stepping inside The Oracle feels a bit like stepping back in time. The corner bar inhabits an 1880s-era brick building that’s representative of Olde Towne East architecture. Behind the bar, a record player scratches out ambient music; in another corner, a tarot card reader practices her craft; eye-catching pencil and paint portraits hang on the dark, beadboard walls.
Open since mid-May of this year, this neighborhood haunt (which once housed L’Appat Patisserie and Café) is operated by Faith Pierce and Bobby Silver, the owners of Yellow Brick Pizza and Arcade Super Awesome, both located a few blocks down Oak Street.
In The Oracle’s front room, seating is mismatched and a little awkward, with curving half booths near the front doors and assorted two-tops scattered throughout the dimly lit bar. A room extending from the main bar feels like a midcentury lounge with red walls, a checkered floor and glass coffee tables. On the opposite end of the space is a DJ’s table with speakers. The Oracle features live music most weekends, while tarot card readings are available Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Despite its quirks, the bar feels welcoming. The sole bartender proves to be helpful in selecting drinks. The offerings are displayed on a faded, hand-lettered menu high above the bar and include 10 classic cocktails like the Sazerac, Aviation and Old-Fashioned ($10–$12). Wine, scotch and other spirits are available, while a tap list features four beers or ciders. Happy hour runs 4–7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and includes $5 Negronis, $7 Mules and $5 Kronenbourg 1664s, plus a shot.
Of interest are the cocktail specials, tacked to a small fabric board that sits on the bar. The Metal Bird ($10) combines blackstrap rum, Ferro-Kina amaro (an Italian herbal liqueur), turbinado sugar and orange bitters. The boozy concoction rides the line between darkly sweet and bitter. Another feature, Room for One More ($10), blends mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, strawberry shrub and a spritz of Laphroaig scotch.
Although there’s no food served in-house, there’s a welcome surprise: Lidia Labra’s taco truck, Los Potosinos, has positioned a small trailer outside. Sitting next to the building on South Champion Avenue, Los Potosinos seems like a strange companion to the bar, but the combination works. The little white trailer features a simple menu of tacos, burritos and tortas; guests can purchase food at the truck (accessible through a small gate off the back patio) and bring it inside the bar. The taco truck operates from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The Oracle already enjoys a somewhat storied history. In late June, a portion of the outer brick wall behind the bar collapsed unexpectedly, even spookily. It has since been repaired, but the mishap has become part of the off-kilter charm of this OTE spot. The Oracle may borrow from the past when it comes to its aesthetic and classic cocktails, but I predict this watering hole has an interesting future ahead.