Bar review: The Bottle Shop

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive
Hombre from Nantucket cocktail

A red and green table that looks like it could've been rescued from an abandoned playground. A vintage-looking couch and a peacock "fan" rattan chair that might've come from the apartment of art students. A desk that appears to have been designed for a first grader. A wacky lamp fashioned from a recycled electric meter.

Unspooling on a projector screen:Robot Monster, a hilariously preposterous 1950s sci-fi flick (chronicled in the book The 50 Worst Films of All Time) that was pieced together on a budget so pitiful it precluded the namesake alien robot costume, so the producers plopped a "space helmet" onto some unfortunate dude in a gorilla suit.

Now attach all of that to a carryout in the adjoining room and you've got The Bottle Shop, one of the best cocktail lounges in town. Paraphrasing an old cliché, this funky-yet-sophisticated, low-key place situated in the former Viking Growl and Tap Room on King Avenue proves that good things come in odd packages.

One of those good things is the delicious Hombre from Nantucket ($10), a vivid, punch-colored, margarita-esque libation that brings a little smoke with its fire. It's made with pebbled ice (this is an artisanal ice kinda place), tequila, lime, mole bitters, jalapeno and a cranberry shrub. When sipped through its paper straw, the addictive beverage delivers a refreshingly tart-sweet, fruity rush accompanied by a hint of smoke and a serious chili kick. The extremely appropriate garnishes: a jalapeno wheel and an intense, pickled cranberry.

For something completely different, try the Bywater ($12). It's an orange-scented and stiff-yet-welcoming concoction of aged rum, Averna, Green Chartreuse, Falernum and Peychaud's Bitters poured into a coupe glass livened by a long, twisted strip of orange peel. Named after a New Orleans neighborhood, the cocktail offers cherry cordial notes offset by fragrant citrus.

Along with a slew of other inspired craft cocktails, The Bottle Shop is stocked with 18 smartly curated beer taps (a $9 flight buys a quartet of four-ounce pours). The unpretentious little charmer also offers a great everyday special practically worth dropping in for every day: shots of Fernet Branca for $3.

The Bottle Shop

237 King Ave., Victorian Village

614-826-1268

thebottleshopcolumbus.com