The new bar on Main Street was buzzing Friday evening, as thirsty patrons stopped by for a drink and stayed to sample the food.
Barrel Aged serves up creative cocktails and a selection of stiff drinks that sparkle in colorful bottles behind the bar. The cozy, dimly lit lounge replaced last Thursday, turning the restaurant into a a chic sanctuary on Main Street.
Owner Ashley Afferino offered inquisitive customers a free taste of the menu Friday, asking for honest feedback and hoping to entice regulars. Featuring organic, local ingredients, options included traditional bar bites like burgers and fries, as well as comfort food like meatloaf and ground beef with mashed potatoes.
The staff recommended the burger — and for obvious reasons. The meat is succulent and flavorful, complemented by sharp cheese and a soft, fluffy bun. Fried green tomatoes and breaded mozerella sticks proved perfect nibbles — light and crisp, without being greasy.
As for the drinks, the bar uses no pre-made juices or cocktail mixes, only fresh lemon and lime, lending flavor and complexity. The masterchefs behind the bar are knowledgeable and quick to offer up suggestions depending on taste preferences. The Moscow Mule, for example, is zesty and refreshing with a kick — perfect for a warm summer's afternoon. Hard drinks and cocktails run between $7 and $9.
Afferino admitted her surprize and delight at the popularity of Barrel Aged so far, despite no formal advertising. She moved up from West Hollywood last month to open the bar, and is enjoying getting to know Martinez by attending city council meetings and chit-chatting with the locals. "I love this town," she said.
Have you been to Barrel Aged yet? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.