I checked out two totally different spots last night, but have pretty great things to say about both. First I finally got to sit down at Ixia, the super swanky, but modern restaurant and lounge in Mt. Vernon. I've heard amazing things about their cocktails (thanks to friends and blog readers) so I really wanted to try them myself.
The first thing that struck me was, obviously, the decor. With the same owners as Paper Moon Diner, Ixia shares that kitsch but in an upscale package. Huge, colorful Mexican art adorned the bright blue walls and ornate furniture and draped fabric accented the space. Just beyond the dining area, the bar had a long, black marble counter dotted with single red roses. Bar manager Brendan Dorr was attentive to all customers, whether they were a large party, a couple on a date, or a single patron.
After viewing the double-paned cocktail menu, I decided I had to try the Queen Bee cocktail I'd heard so much about. It combines Snow Queen Vodka, elderflower syrup, honey water, yuzu juice, and orange zest. At $15, the drink definitely lived up to its reputation with its delicate balance of the tart citrus and the smooth honey. Then I tried to be a little more adventurous and ordered Rosemary's Baby, made with plymouth gin, dry vermouth, lavender and herbs de provence muddled with rose infused simple syrup, and a mist of absinthe. Phew! After I got done with the description, I gave it a taste. This drink was surely more intense than the first. Very minty, herby, and earthy. A lot to take in, but very impressive if you're a gin drinker. I also really liked the apricot-themed whiskey drink The Good Ole Boy, a twist on a more classic cocktail.
Then for something completely different, I headed over to Bourbon Street for the free Drive-By Truckers show. I had never been there before (I did, unfortunately, go to Hammerjack's back in the day), but had heard about the transformed space and awesome rooftop bar. The inside had a Rams Head Live! feel to it: multiple bars, various floors, and a brick facade. But I also did get some not-so-good Power Plant vibes, too (some of the crowd, the scantily clad bartenders). Needless to say, I knew I had to check out the rooftop in between the sets of J Roddy Walston and the Business and The Truckers.
Though last night's weather was pretty unfavorable, the roof was definitely nice. There was an four-sided, resort-type bar and palm trees lining the space, though the bar is supposedly Mardi Gras-themed. There was a lot of space to chat and hang out, including little benches off to the side and an area to take in the view of 83 and East Baltimore. I can definitely see having a great time with a group of friends up there, when the weather is nice of course.
All in all, I had a pretty good night exploring a couple more Baltimore nightlife spots. It just goes to show that this city pretty much has anything, for anyone.
[Image: Ixia courtesy of flickr.com/photos/billy_julie]