Attention to Craft in Cocktails at The Valkyrie Bar
Every city should have a classic cocktail bar that knows what a bar should be, and more importantly what a bar should not be. I adhere to the Ron Swanson philosophy that “you should never half-ass two things, but whole-ass one thing”. In other words, anything worth doing is worth doing right.
Valkyrie isn’t a restaurant; it’s a bar. While there is a modest selection of snacks, their focus is on the glass, not the plate. Yes, I like a beer as much as the next guy, and you certainly can order a beer from their respectable selection, but you don’t go to a steakhouse and order the chicken.
You see…before Tom Cruise and drunk bachelorettes ruined what we now know as the “cocktail”, it was once an elegant and sophisticated way to imbibe your favorite spirit - and the guys at Valkyrie have not only resurrected it, but they have nailed it. The bartenders aren’t wearing silly pieces of flair, there is no loud music or DJ, and you aren’t going to feel the need to throw singles at women dancing on the bar in cowboy boots and cutoffs. Why? Because they don’t have to. The focus is on using the best ingredients to make a great product by professionals who are happy to give you an education on the process of what makes a proper drink.
When you order a mixed drink at Valkyrie Bar, you are benefiting from an attention to detail by a craftsman rarely seen in bars (or anything else) these days. From the ground up their hand-cut ice cubes, fresh aromatics, and homemade mixers all combine to create a cocktail that would earn the Don Draper seal of approval. In addition to time-honored standbys like an Old Fashioned or a Singapore Sling, the mixologists at Valkyrie have created some very solid originals like The Parking Lot Attendant or The Falling Soldier that you should definitely try. However, if you’re feeling less Hemmingway and more Sinatra, there is a good selection of bourbons, whiskeys and scotches prominently displayed behind the bar.
Aside from making a solid drink, it has great “night out” ambiance without feeling formal or stuffy. Simple but classic oak woodwork behind the thick, slate bar compliments several inviting booths which made me wish I had brought more friends when I was there. You’re just as likely to see buddies meeting up for a beer after a Driller’s game as you are to find a couple enjoying an adult beverage before heading to dinner and a show in the Brady District. While there is no shortage of places downtown to get a drink these days (thankfully), if you’re looking to treat your palate and you also love a good, but real drink, you will definitely want to add Valkyrie to your regular rotation.