New bar: Fleur
Glow from streetlights and passing traffic washed calmly into the manicured confines Saturday night as a lively mixed crowd of couples, hipsters and ladies on a carefree night out sampled champagne and deep house music.
It's been little more than two weeks since Fleur opened its doors, but Downtown's newest nightlife spot seems to have found a groove.
Tucked into the triangular building at the southeast corner of North Third and East Long streets, Fleur is an elegant lounge with a distinct but not annoying European flair and a menu full of champagne and vodka.
"I travel quite a bit, and I wanted to bring something to Columbus that was a little bit different - that's not just a restaurant or just a bar," owner Roopan Dey said. "I wanted to find a place where you could have a conversation."
A marble-topped bar is beautiful but tight, so most of the relating happens in a series of comfortable white leather booths lining the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Sated by a warm bubbly buzz, your eyes will wander up to exposed ductwork, over to colorful murals and beyond to three bar TVs showing Betty Boop or other vintage cartoons. These trimmings pop delightfully from a bar that's almost completely colorless.
An aroma of fresh lilies completes the atmosphere of a place particular about everything - including what it serves behind the bar.
Apart from looks, Fleur's greatest strength lies in its love of champagne, which is served by the bottle and included as the backbone in a multitude of specialty cocktails. Those come pretty but pricey at $9.75, while vodka martinis run slightly less.
If you're new to mixing champ and spirits, try the Classic Kir Royale, a traditional favorite that's both tasty and aromatic.
Those looking to share will find a broad range of champagne by the bottle, including 24 for less than $100. Those looking to save will find $2 domestic bottles, $6 martinis and $7 specialty drinks during a happy hour running 4-7 p.m. weekdays.
For Your Real Friends
Fleur offers a full range of champagne - and often uses bubbly to back its specialty drinks. Here are three champ-based cocktails to try.
Classic Kir Royal: Champagne and Chambord
Red Dawn: Champagne, Absolut and cranberry juice
The 1812: Champagne brut and Absolut, garnished with red raspberries
114 N. Third St., Downtown
Hours: 4-11 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
Happy hour: 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday: $7 specialty cocktails, $6 vodka martinis, $2 domestic bottles, $4 import bottles