Slideshow: Ask A Bartender: What's Your Dream Bar Like?

'Writer's Block'
'Writer's Block'
"My dad and I always muse over opening a bar together—with bookcases lining the walls for a lending library, a literature theme and an extensive brown spirit library. He wants to name it 'Writer's Block' and have his proprietary whiskey cordial on tap." Lauren Lathrop Williams (Jsix Restaurant)
Those Pennsylvania Liquor Laws...
Those Pennsylvania Liquor Laws...
"A lot like Emmanuelle: small,  service-focused, good atmosphere, good music, good cocktails.  Although in my dream bar I would design both the program and the bar itself (for streamlining of service) and of course PA's liquor laws wouldn't be so wacky." — Phoebe Esmon ( Emmanuelle in Northern Liberties )
Italian pizza, Spanish red wine
Italian pizza, Spanish red wine
"My dream bar has Italian pizza, Spanish red wine, and plays lots of Alice in Chains. And has a pinball machine." — Chad Musick (Sip)
Unicorns!
Unicorns!
"My dream bar would be relatively small, with one centralized bar in a "Cheers-like" setting.  Nothing fancy. Just a place where the locals can meet up for drinks, where meaningful conversations can be had in a relaxing setting with the occasional wild night. Everybody would be on a first-name basis and anyone could come in and feel comfortable immediately.  I do want a unicorn tucked nicely in the bar somewhere—next to the bourbons, perhaps.  And instead of saying "Cheers" as a toast, the locals would have to say "Unicorn." I might even consider naming the place Unicorn.  It would be in New York City instead of Boston.  And I'd like it to last more than eleven seasons."  — Saan Saelee (Marble Lane at Dream Downtown)
Fun But Sophisticated
Fun But Sophisticated
"Dream bar? It would be fun but sophisticated. It would be fast and easy but with underlying awesome details that those of us geeky enough to recognize would love but that those who don't really care wouldn't feel alienated for not knowing. It will be a bar about the experience of being there, the cocktails will only add to the experience, not be the only thing the experience is about." — Ivy Mix (co-founder, Speed Rack; Clover Club)
A Real Party
A Real Party
"[A lot like] Sable, probably. I’ve thought a lot about a tiny little cozy hideaway where we can rigorously control the door and the experience and give people exactly what we want... except that isn’t me. I like big, raucous bars. I like a lot of people having a lot of fun. And I like ordering a lot of cases of a lot of booze." —Mike Ryan (Sable)
Bartending First, Looks Second
Bartending First, Looks Second
"My dream bar would have easy access to everything that I would stock it with and would be set up for bartending first, looks second. It's not a lot, but so many bars i've worked at were difficult to work behind because they weren't designed by anyone who ever tended a bar, are too wide, too long, bartops are too deep or high, have displays that are so tall that I need either KISS platform shoes or a pair of stilts to get to the top shelf. Fortunately, I am not a stranger to climbing things." — Elizabeth Powell (Liberty Bar)
Indoor-Outdoor, Music and Art
Indoor-Outdoor, Music and Art
"It would be small, family friendly, very knowledgeable staff, with an outdoor patio for dogs lovers, rotating art shows, live music two nights a week, cocktails made from local ingredients. And clean!" — Kirsten Schopen (The Broadmoor )
Cheap beer, good rum and taxidermy
Cheap beer, good rum and taxidermy
"Well, location would be the most important thing. I love to have a casual bar somewhere within sight of ether a good trout stream or a bonefish flat.  Cheap beer, good rum and taxidermy seem about right." — George Costa (Pub & Kitchen)
Host of the Party
Host of the Party
"At my bar, vodka sodas and light beer are the big sellers... but the people who ordered that wouldn't be my regulars. Small, esoteric, funky wine list. I want to keep you level with food and water, and welcome you in. It's not an overly serious place; I'm the host of the party." — John McCarthy (Mulberry Project, Vinatta Project )
Small, dark, comfortable
Small, dark, comfortable
"It would be quite unremarkable. Small, dark, comfortable. Open fireplaces with log fires and wingback leather chairs. We'd serve until 5am and stick to 80% of the fire limit as our maximum capacity. On the menu, there are only wings, ribs and a cheeseboard with English mustard." —John Cummins (The Dawson Lounge)
'Grimms Fairy Tale Aesthetic'
'Grimms Fairy Tale Aesthetic'
"Small, 15 or 20 seats. We would only be open Wednesday - Sunday, and only from 9pm until 2 am. I would be the only bartender. The cocktail menu would be based on ingredients that I've grown and preserved. It would be a small menu that would change nightly according to what was available and my whim. I would go in every morning to garden and cook things for the bar. The theme would be roughly based on a Grimms fairy tale aesthetic. Dark, woodsy, eerie." — Sarah Mengoni (South Water Kitchen)
Starfleet-Issue Replicator
Starfleet-Issue Replicator
"It would contain a Starfleet-issue replicator, so I could be limited only by my imagination and the remaining sobriety of my guests... and my own sobriety I suppose."— Christian Gaal ( Emmanuelle in Northern Liberties )
All Quality
All Quality
"It would be a small intimate spot, maybe 7 seats at the bar with a couple tables. We would specialize in crafting cocktails and serving excellent beer. The idea is that the people you serve come back because of you and the quality of your product and service, not because your bar is flashy and new." — Dan Andruss (312 Chicago)
Semi-Sports Bar
Semi-Sports Bar
"My ultimate bar would be a craft cocktail driven semi-sports bar.  A neighborhood joint that is also a destination spot.  Great cocktails with the game on cannot be beaten." — Nate Howell (Cusp Dining & Drinks)
Rooftop Bar, Retractable Roof
Rooftop Bar, Retractable Roof
"I'd prefer a rooftop bar with a fully retractable roof and with two different areas. It should be exclusive but not impossible to get in. Dress code is enforced and no TVs. First area would be a 1920's themed bar with live jazz music from that era, and entertainment on the weekend's and other shows. The second area would be a gentleman's type establishment. The menu would consist of no less than 100 rums, and 100 whiskeys, from all over the world. The booze bottles would be the main décor of the bar… There would be a smoking lounge with a fireplace and large chairs and a cigar glass wall humidor where customers can purchase them." — Miri Kolici (Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel)
Wine and Sherry, Too
Wine and Sherry, Too
"My dream bar is the culmination of all the things I love. So not only will the cocktails be stellar, but it will have a very good wine and sherry list as well." — Lynnette Marrero (co-founder, Speed Rack; DrinksAt6)
Your Rich Uncle's Basement
Your Rich Uncle's Basement
"Think of your rich uncle’s basement. Low light, but not too low. So many bottles of Scotch you can't count. Leather sofas and tables so everyone has to mingle." — Brandon Toborg (Saltbox)