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First Bite: Dram Whiskey Bar, Mountain Brook

Dram Whiskey Bar, Mountain Brook Alabama After what seems to have been a quick construction, the restaurant Avo and the Dram Whiskey Bar are now open. I arrived late Friday evening (the bar closes at midnight) and whet my palate with a sip of their bacon-infused bourbon. Last night Kim and I stopped back to check it out. Dram has a neat, angular style with a Colorado ski lodge feel. By my estimates the patio seats 30 to 40 and should be quite the popular spot in Mountain Brook Village as the weather improves. The food and drink were better than expected in most areas.

Smokehouse Cocktail Smelling of bacon and tasting squarely of bourbon, the bacon-infused Smokehouse cocktail  is a bit of an enigma. There is an ambient smokiness, which I found quite pleasant, but now that I have tried it I won’t be rushing back for more. The Blackberry Winter–Knob Creek with fresh blackberry puree–was slightly sweet and decidedly Knobby. The Sazerac was mild and reminded me of New Orleans. The sassafras wash is a nice touch.

For the food, the twice-fried duck fat fries were serviceable. They had the richness you’d expect, but came to the table cool. The rosemary ketchup rocks for its sweet, herbal kick. The Dram Burger has potential, but ours was lacking. The biggest issue: the bun was cold and clammy. The burger itself came out medium-well instead of medium and had a fresh meaty taste. Greasiness was an issue but the cheese probably didn’t help. Onion rings were well-executed.

Overall, the bar has a lot going for it: interesting drinks, good food, and a great location. There is no real neighborhood competition to speak of. The service was attentive, and the food issues can be dealt with easily. The unprotected blue flames on the patio are odd and somewhat scary. I’m not sure if they’re decorative or supposed to provide heat. Either way, they seem just close enough to catch someone on fire. There isn’t really much on the internets about Dram or Avo yet other than a brief post from Inspiration earlier this week. I am looking forward to more from Dram and plan to check out Avo this week (or next Sunday for brunch).

Dram Whiskey Bar (and Avo Restaurant)
140 Village Circle
Mountain Brook, Alabama
205/871-8212 (Avo)
205/871-8055 (Dram)

Dram - Twice-Fried Duck fat Fries with Rosemary Ketchup Dram - Smokehouse Cocktail Dram Whiskey Bar, Mountain Brook Alabama Dram Burger with Onion Rings Dram Whiskey Bar Cocktail Menu

Dan is the producer of ‘Ham Sandwich. He sometimes longs for breezy walks down Broadway with a slice of pizza larger than his face. Read First Bite for first impressions to new restaurants (or at least restaurants that are new to us). We aren’t crazy about the idea of reviewing restaurants, but it’s likely we’ll be critical from time to time. First Bites will have followups.

16 Comments

  1. Barrie says:

    Twice-fried duck fat fries . . . cool! I’ve always wanted to fry french fries in duck fat but have always saved it for other uses (I typically use it in meat dishes or stews where oil or butter is called for). Can’t wait to try these.

    Rosemary ketchup! Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. Dan says:

    Went back last night and had more duck fries. Still not terribly hot, but good nonetheless. And after a few drinks, the poutine (a canadian specialty of french fries topped with cheese curd and short rib gravy) was satisfying as well.

    d

  3. […] clear all the time that I am a glutton for punishment (and good cocktails). Last night, a few of us went back to Dram and Avo and worked our way through more of their respective menus. By the end of the […]

  4. Hallie says:

    I want to check this place out! Does it have any vegetarian options?

  5. Dan says:

    If you can find a website, please let me know. It’s hard enough to get their physical address.

  6. trav says:

    Just called and spoke to Kyle there. He said there is no site, no plans for a site and no way to see a drink list without walking through the doors. Oh well. Now I *have* to go!

  7. D says:

    Went there for drinks for a birthday last week. The drink menu was very cool. You will not find any cocktails made with a “mix”; rather, they are all made the old fashioned way (bitters, muddled ingredients, etc.). Moreover, most of the drinks were not too terribly expensive. The menu had fare that was truly southern but modernized; stuffed quail is one example. Very cool place we will definitely be returning soon.

  8. […] Whiskey Bar and Avo (previous posts) won’t be the only new kids on the block in Mountain Brook Village for long. This […]

  9. trevor says:

    i enjoyed dram. food was decent enough, but i’ve always longed for a place in birmingham that specialized in whiskey. that is enough to keep me coming back.

    so i guess i’ll enjoy the whiskey for now and cross my fingers in hopes that the food will iron itself out.

  10. Greg says:

    Dan,

    Can you tell us how the Sazerac was made? Sazerac rye is only available as a wholesale item in Alabama and Peychaud bitters are a required ingredient in any Sazerac. It sounds like they are using a homemade sassafras infusion as a wash rather than the traditional Herbsaint or Absinthe.

    Classic cocktails are an easy way to judge a bar. Sounds promising so far.

  11. Dan says:

    I’ll see what kind of info I can get out of them. Thanks for the comment, I fully agree about the classic cocktail benchmark. Until they fix the ice issue, they’ve earned a B- in my book.

  12. kyle says:

    sassafras sazerac: rye whiskey, kentucky straight sassafras wash, bitters, simple syrup, and a lemon twist garnish. very good, when made properly.

  13. David says:

    I went for drinks and dinner last night, first and foremost, Bret is a jerk. He had no humility whatsoever and was dismissive before understanding our complaint. Overall atmosphere/cost was robbery. Our server was nice enough to apologize for Bret.

  14. Dan says:

    Whoa, who is Bret? What was your complaint? Do tell.

  15. […] Whiskey Bar and Avo (previous posts) won’t be the only new kids on the block in Mountain Brook Village for long. This […]

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