As a 22-year-old living in Collegetown, I become tired of the limited options of bars. Each bar is known for its own distinct personality, but as the weekend approaches, the Collegetown standbys become packed with an overwhelming volume of students. Bar Argos provides a sophisticated, quieter and more comfortable escape than these other bars. Located on State Street, on the way down the hill to the Commons, the bar is within walking distance of Collegetown and is worth the trip. Bar Argos can be found on the first floor of the Argos Inn, a 10 room boutique hotel housed in a renovated historic mansion. The wide front staircase and expansive side porch with floor to ceiling windows creates a feeling of elegance from the moment the guest arrives.
The bar area is decorated in lush colors and textures. The red walls bring warmth to the room, and the soft lighting creates an intimate, almost coffeehouse like vibe. Seating lines the bar, and there is a mix of two seat high top tables as well as groupings of armchairs and couches covered in mauve and green velvet. Across the lobby, the porch is available for overflow seating, simply decorated and showcasing a large, communal wooden table in the center of the room. Our group arrived around 8:45 on a Tuesday night, and the bar was pretty quiet. There were about eight people sitting and talking at the bar, but we chose a cozy grouping of chairs and couches to settle into.
The bar has in the past few years won accolades, such as best craft cocktail and cocktail selection, and I have luckily been able to sample quite a few of these beverages in the past. However, I was excited to sample the “So it Goes” section of the menu, which is new for Spring 2017 and utilizes seasonal ingredients and flavors while taking inspiration from the works of Kurt Vonnegut.
The new cocktails are placed on the upper right corner of the drink menu, between the “Borrowed & Reborn” and “Old School Players” sections. The Flora & Fauna, a tempting and light combination of Myer Farm gin, lime, honey and house made flower bitters, and one of my favorite permanent drinks on the menu, caught my eye, but I decided on the Player Piano. This cocktail was a mix of Broker’s Gin (a London Dry style gin), Genepy Herbetet, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth and house made cedar-lemongrass syrup. With the mix of 10 botanicals in the gin and the Genepy Herbetet, the drink was strong and herbaceous — a gin martini with a few amped up flavors. While the drink was bright and refreshing, it was a bit aggressive for my taste. The presentation was beautiful, with the light green beverage served in a rocks glass with a sphere of ice and green branch garnish.
My friend ordered the Unicorn Trap, which was a fruitier mix of Helix Vodka, lemon, and house-made peppercorn tincture and strawberry jam. The soft pink drink was served in a highball glass with mint and a rainbow swirled lollipop as a whimsical garnish. The drink had a good level of strawberry flavor and the alcohol was not as pronounced as the Player Piano.
The third drink we tried was the Miss Temptation, consisting of Hayman’s Old Tom Gin (an English Victorian gin), lemon, Amaro Meletti 1870, house made pink peppercorn syrup and sparkling pear cider to finish. The bright pink color was fun and inviting, and the fruity flavors were perfectly balanced. This was my favorite off of the new cocktail menu.
Bar Argos is a great place to hangout with friends any night of the week and enjoy artisanal cocktails. The friendly staff and comfortable environment will have me heading back on my next evening out.