Old Meets New at This Cocktail and Wine Bar

The New Northwestern Cocktail & Wine Bar has plenty of small snacks to eat while drinking, including this platter with Iowa-made cheese and stacks of cured meats and crackers.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Something old: Nods to the New Northwestern Cocktail & Wine Bar’s former use as a hotel for train travelers in the early 1900s; maps line the walls, while train track designs adorn the bar and appear on the menu.

Something new: Plenty, including classic cocktails with modern twists, seasonal bar snacks and a playlist so great, I asked the staff if I could steal it. (They kindly obliged.)

Just about one month since opening day, the service at the New Northwestern is dialed in—as are the food and drink menus. Along with a lineup of gin drinks, general manager and lead mixologist Pat Hart features rum, vodka and mezcal creations. And for those feeling indecisive, you don’t even have to choose: gin and tonic flights allow you to sample three of eight gins on offer (paired with tonic and garnishes) as part of one order, and the staff will even help you build your own flight if you’re new to the spirit.

The wine and beer menus live up to that quality; local and domestic beers and a wide mix of wine varietals mean this East Village hot spot has something for everyone (over 21).

Take a seat in one of the plush jade green barstools, and you’ll feel a bit like you’re back in a fancy train car. The ceilings are tall, but the space is small—so come early or on a weekday for a better chance of securing a spot at the white marble bar or one of the window-side high-top tables.

Whenever you go, I recommend pairing your drink of choice with one of chef Brandon Persaud and team’s simple yet satisfying snacks designed for sharing. On our recent visit, my friend and I split a cheese and charcuterie board with many of our favorite Iowa-made cheeses, a luscious fruit butter and stacks of cured meats and crackers. And thanks to a generous amount of pita wedges, she and I practically wiped the mezze platter clean. Hummus, baba ganoush, stuffed grape leaves, fresh and pickled veggies and feta cheese team up for a light yet flavorful Mediterranean sampler.

At the end of our first trip, we were already making plans to come back and traverse through more of the food and drink offerings. Next round, our ticket will definitely include at least one (OK, likely two) of the featured desserts from their local sweets partner, Tami’s Tarts.

Find The New Northwestern at 321 E. Walnut St., and preview the food and drink menu at https://thenewnorthwestern.com/. Follow @thenewnorthwestern to keep up with specials, upcoming events and more.

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