Leroy Lounge

By on 12 March, 2012 in Bars, Fun, Kate and Stephen with 5 Comments

Inside Leroy

When you ask someone what Leroy is, they may give you a cryptic response. Leroy may be the “mostest horse that ever was,” but although their online logo is of a horse (and a horseshoe and a crown), there’s no physical sign or anything on the actual building to designate Montgomery’s now-open super-cool El Rey adjunct for those not in the know. Which maybe is the fun of it, but still, we (being good neighborhood citizens) wanted to spill the beans to everyone else.

Hey y’all, Leroy Lounge is open for business. So go there!

Run by local restaurant empresario Tyler Bell, it was originally conceived as a kind of El Rey holding pen for people waiting for a table at one of the best (but often-slammed) restaurants in town. Burrito-consumption staging ground, yes, but Leroy also appears to be a well-designed home for Midtown’s cocktail/beer/velvet curtain aficionados. Thank goodness. These poor people had no place to go before now – aimlessly fingering drapes at Christine’s till closing time is just not a socially acceptable way to spend a Saturday. But now there is a solution – a tasty, tasty solution.

You know that alley that goes by El Rey into the parking lot? Where they have a tiny garden and there are a handful of parking spaces back behind The Capri? Now there’s a bar there. Not just a bar, but a really good one, with 18 taps of rotating beers and a gigantic and fascinating cocktail list full of muddled this and home distilled that and liquors you’ve never heard of all dispensed via drops and jars and fancy shakers into delightful glasses that you somehow don’t mind paying $8-$12 for (Perhaps Leroy’s one of those counting horses).

On a recent afternoon visit, we started with an old-fashioned (comprised of something called Blanton’s bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, Luxardo cherries and an orange). We were inspired by the 1960s drinking of Don Draper from Mad Men, but the Leroy version of the cocktail makes you feel less like you are drowning your existential Cold War despair and more like your are at some hoity-toity wrap party. We also ordered a daiquiri, which was the first time that either of us had consumed such a beverage in a non-blender format. This was advertised as the “original recipe,” with aged silver rum, lemon-lime juice and cane syrup. It was really delicious and if both were from Jersey, this would be Count Basie to the popular culture’s Snooki.

Round two brought us further into the list. One of us, emboldened by the rum (or made reckless by the faint hint of varnish still in the air) chose the “Ale Flip,” whose ingredients are so secret that they aren’t listed on the menu. In fact, the menu is essentially a dare to order one, warning only that it contains dairy (in case you have an allergy). It does contain an egg and it was divine.It was sort of a highly-creamy dark beer stout thing, a light brown milkshake of smooth and intoxicating sludge. Surprisingly, it was worth the $12.

The other of us opted for the “Dark and Smokey” (eight-year rum, ginger/chipotle syrup, ginger beer). It was delightful, contemplative, and worth every cent on a warm and rainy Saturday afternoon.

We are told there will eventually be food and other innovations, but for now it’s a damn nice place to get a cocktail or a beer you’ve barely heard of. There’s (mercifully) no TV blaring and the atmosphere is refined but not stuffy. You can imagine in 50 years that it will have taken on a slightly-dialed back version of the atmosphere that drives people in New Orleans to The Roosevelt Hotel to drink a sazerac.

We didn’t even mention the beer list, which is clearly designed to dazzle the experts. This was a liquor-only trip for us, but we’ll likely be back to pinball around the beer menu. Needless to say, it contains a bewildering array of items that almost certainly cannot be acquired anywhere else in the city.

Bottom line: If you don’t know it’s open, you should go. If you do know it’s open, you should go more often. It’s a big city drinking experience among familiar faces and potential new friends.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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There Are 5 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jay Croft says:

    Drinks, but no food at all? Can a burrito be brought in from El Rey’s?

  2. anonymous says:

    El Rey.
    Not possessive. Not plural.

  3. anonymous says:

    They have a small menu of “Bar Food.” Nuts, pretzels, salsa, cheese plate, etc. They don’t have a kitchen but most things are prepared at El Rey.

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