Buzzed: Blind Lady Tavern

Beth Stallings
Blind Lady Tavern owner Seth Laufman makes a drink with the old school absinthe fountain.

Though the bar and restaurant at 22 E. Mound St. has frequently changed ownership, one thing has remained steadfast here: since 1831, it's always been a tavern. It's the former Jury Room's storied past that attracted current owner Seth Laufman. An Athens native, Laufman spent the last decade in San Francisco tending bar and managing historic spots like Comstock Saloon-a turn-of-the-century saloon and the city's second-oldest bar.

At newly openedBlind Lady Tavern, Laufman hopes to capture some of the same historic magic of Comstock. He's changed little of the atmosphere-it's still dark wood, striped wallpaper and an ornate bar-back-and stocked the bar with quality spirits. Translation: Prohibition-era drinks in an atmosphere that fits.

Laufman wants Blind Lady Tavern to be an everyman's cocktail bar, meaning cocktail aficionados and happy hour buzz-seekers alike will find what they need here. Both groups will be pleased at the price point with classics for $9 and signatures with historic and legalese names for $10.

Of the latter, seek out the Hostile Witness, made with rye, Benedictine, sherry and bitters. It's bitter and a little dry, but refreshingly balanced. The Frances Miller, named for the ghost who allegedly haunts the space, is proof beer cocktails can work with mezcal, Liquor 43, lemon and IPA.

Bring friends to take advantage of daily rotating punches available by the glass or bowl, or opt for formal absinthe service for the table.

There is also a new food menu of Southern comfort classics prepared by Laufman's former Comstock comrade and chef Danielle Leeman. "It's old school, nothing fancy, good quality food and drink," Laufman says. "It's what we're trying to do here. Nothing highfalutin-just delicious and approachable."