Time Out says
A minimalist cocktail bar in Surawong now occupies the space vacated by Smoking Pug
Since barbecue specialist Smokin’ Pug said farewell to Surawong Road for a more spacious outpost in Soi Langsuan, the edgy vibe has gone missing from an area that’s notoriously filled with tourist traps (think knock-off souvenir shops and those kinds of massage parlors). Luckily, the vacant space was quickly filled up by a new tenant. And it’s a cool cocktail bar that strongly focuses on American-style cocktails.
This new watering hole, which sits in shophouse number 88 on Surawong Road, has done its best to keep Smokin’ Pug’s grit, retaining the former restaurant’s faux brick and exposed concrete walls. What’s new to the space are a welcoming American diner-style neon sign spelling out the bar’s name out front and high-reaching shelves storing a bevy of booze selections.
New York-hailing bartender Eric Stephenson brings American-style cocktails to the fore with minimally garnished creations that allow flavors to take the lead. The menu is categorized into four sections based on a drink’s characteristics and flavor profile—sour, carbonated tropical and aromatized (cocktails that have been injected with aromatized wine like vermouth)—and revolves around lesser-known, forgotten classics as well as some modern and regional numbers (Penicillin and Malaysia’s Jungle Bird, for example).
Rare tipples include the spirits-forward Yacht Club, slightly adapted from David Embury’s original recipe that combines Diplomatico aged rum, house-blended vermouth (a mix of sherry-based and classic white vermouth) and apricot liqueur with a hint of Angostura bitters (B400). Rose Petal is a delightful mash-up of floral, smooth and fizzy characters, combining dry gin, raspberry, peach, lemon, egg white with rose essence, and sparkling wine (B360). The classic tequila-based drink Infante benefits from the addition of mezcal and house-made orgeat syrup (aka salted almond syrup), which contributes more complex and nutty flavors (B380).
The 88 also serves yummy bar snacks like buffalo chicken nuggets with blue cheese sauce (B280), fried sweet potatoes (B220), and Thai wagyu flank steak served with sweet jeaw sauce (B600).
While only gimmick-free classics are served at the main bar, the second floor will be converted into an another 22-seater watering hole where cocktails are expected to take more mind-blowing, innovative steps.