At the bar: Harry’s Bar & Tables

I’ve made a habit of asking bartenders where they like to drink, and one establishment comes up over and over: Harry’s Bar & Tables in Westport. So I dropped in one recent afternoon and whiled away some time over an Elderflower Gimlet. It was perfectly balanced and delicious, made with Hendrick’s gin, St-Germain Elderflower liqueur and lime, shaken and served on the rocks. But that’s not what made me want to go back.

The Elderflower Gimlet at Harry's Bar & Tables

Rather, it was the low-key vibe of the place, and the welcome I got from my bartender, Dave.

There was no “waiting for someone else?,” no hard sell as I him-hawed over the cocktail menu. He offered few suggestions, and then backed off while greeting other customers as they came in, asking one if she still drank Hangar One and telling another they still had his favorite beer on tap.

I caught manager Jeremy Roth on the phone today, and it seems my experience was exactly what they’re going for.

“Harry’s is a comfortable spot,” he says. “Maybe 10 or 12 years ago it was really trendy, but now it’s more of a local’s place, an enjoyable, laid-back atmosphere where you do your own thing.”

And that thing, whatever it is, can go almost as late as you want it to—Harry’s is open seven days a week until 3 a.m., and the kitchen serves food until 2 a.m. (pretty good food, too, to judge by comments on Yelp).

Getting back to the drinks, there are a lot of sweetie-martinis, which do make people happy, but there’s also a long list of classics, like the Sazerac, Moscow Mule and Negroni. Gin and rye whiskey are big sellers, and “every third drink we sell is a Horsefeather,” made with Jim Beam rye and Blenheim ginger beer, Roth says.

Want to sip something neat? There’s a solid selection of Scotch and other whiskies. Out for a beer? The list is long. Bubbles? They’ve got those too.

“One and done?” Dave asked when I picked up the check. Yup, I thought, but just for now.

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~ by fooddrinklife on February 23, 2011.

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