This is the best and worst named joint I’ve ever been to. Don’t misread that line. Read the whole article and that will make sense. Because THIS PLACE? It’s on my TOP 5 LOCAL HAPPY PLACES list. And you DO NOT want to miss out on this one-of-a-kind-gem of a hang out.
Are there ANY indulgences left for us in this world that are NOT under attack by a society overzealous to ruin EVRYTHING? I don’t know about you, but sometimes…some days…it makes it feel that much more indulgent. Who doesn’t like a little taboo in their lives from time to time.
And smoking is the most reviled of all the taboos right now. Being in a big-town-small-city in the South means very few places to buy a cigar, yet alone learn about them. Cigars, like wine, cheese, and art-nuvoe cinema, are things that many of us love to experience (okay maybe not that last one) but very few of us feel knowledgeable.
The experts here at Vintage Lounge know everything you don’t about the right cigar. In this context, this place is SO aptly named. Everything about this place is old-school chic. Hard woods. Art deco. Pressed tin tile work. The PRIVATE members-only cigar room. A HUGE humidor just packed with a mind boggling assortment of tobacco products. Old-world pipes and assundry. Glass cases, dark hues, soft lights, and high ceilings. This place has character, depth, and a richness to it. The vibe is all fedoras and pocketwatches even when the crowd is all t-shirts and mom-jeans. This place is like a well lived and well-loved older gentleman that sits around and lets anyone and everyone ask anything they want and every makes you like them more.
I almost hate to allegorize the place as a man because the beauty and brains behind it all is the proprietess Alka ____. And this is where I will tell you this place is poorly named. I “like” a good cigar on occasion. But 3-6 times a year is good for me. I’m not even going to smoke one a week. So, myself? I’ll never be a private member, even though I LOVE their little private club space, exclusively for those real cigar aficionado’s.
The BEST part of this place isn’t even represented on the marquee! I have come up with all sorts of little titles for Alka. The Alchemist of Aperitifs! The Sorceress of Spirits! The Empress of Intoxicants! Mistress of Mixology! Conjurer of Cocktails! She Who Makes Spirits Spiritual!
None of them do her justice. Add to that the complete disbelief that her real name is ALKA! It’s so on the nose that I would believe you if you swore there was an ancient book prophesied of the chosen one who could make potions like gourmet meals in a glass.
There is just no other way to describe what goes on here. They have more unheard of syrups and spices and ingredients stashed behind their impressively small bar than you would believe possible! Sop many garden grown herbs, candies fruits, homemade shrubs, syrups, macerations, and infusions. Its both mind-boggling and, ultimately, a major part of the enchantment of the place.
Their cocktail menu reads like a Michelin Star restaurant translated from the language of a foreign city you have always wanted to visit. You can and SHOULD go order your gin and seven there. They would LOVE to have some of your “gin and seven” business. BUT… if you do NOT talk to them about what you like and let them take you on a tour of the amazing worlds they can create with the spirits of your choice… well it’s like asking an Iron Chef to make you tacos. They’ll be PERFECT tacos. But is that REALLY all you want from the Iron Chef?! Really?
Alka and her alchemy apprentices ARE, undeniably, the Iron Chefs of aqua vitae. Their concoctions are an art form that you SHOULD NOT miss experiencing. The Lounge CAN BE a pricey night out of indulgence. But it is undeniably equal to, if not better than, any fine dining experience you have ever had. And their house cocktails menu is ever changing.
If you want to take your spouse or significant other out for a spectacular night and an experience they will both appreciate AND want to do again? You will thank me for this later. Seriously, please let me know you went and you love it! Send me an email, text, or Facebook me.