This past weekend I was able to check out the new-ish small plates restaurant and martini bar Tapas Adela in the heart of Fells Point. Opened earlier this year by Kali's Restaurant Group (also responsible for Mezze, Meli, and Kali's Court), Adela has since garnered a reputation for having a pretty popular bar scene every night of the week.
That point was proved this past Friday as we walked into the romantic, dimly lit space and found the bar area to be completely full. Most people (whose age ranged from late 20s-50s, I'd say) were having some drinks while waiting for a table in the adjacent dining room. Others were munching on some of the Spanish-style small plates. And some, like us, were just there to try out the cocktails.
The bartenders, who also helped design the drink menu, were very amiable and helpful with their recommendations. We started out by trying the Blue Sun martini (Absolut acai vodka with blueberries and lemon) that was absolutely delicious—it had a full-bodied fruity flavor without tasting artificial. We also tried the Fino Mandario martini (Fino sherry, Grand Marnier, and Belvedere orange vodka), which wasn't as big of a hit. The drink packed quite a punch, but was a bit too strong for my taste (huge GM fans would love it, I suspect).
Just out of sheer curiosity, we tried the Martini en Fuego (Absolut vodka, paprika-dusted olives, mini Thai chilis), pictured. Wow, this drink was intense. Imagine a dirty martini that mated with hot sauce. I was impressed by the creativity, and the balance of olive and chili flavor actually worked quite well. But handling the heat of more than one of these would be a challenge.
All of the martinis are $11 and the other cocktails are $9. When the weather warms up a little, Adela is planning on rolling out a late-night happy hour from 9-11 p.m. with discounted tapas and drinks (specific specials haven't been worked out yet). Its website is also under construction, but Adela's Facebook page usually has plenty of updates.
According to one of the bartenders, some late-night revelers occasionally wander into the spot, located on Broadway and Shakespeare streets. Some stay (and even brave the chili martini), though most realize that this establishment is a little classier (and pricier) than what they were after. But it's a nice change of pace for the Thames Street landscape, especially if you're in the mood for something a bit more upscale.
[Image: courtesy of Adela]