Stone Street Martini Lounge has been reincarnated as The Woolworth. Located around the corner from Campisi’s and up a flight of stairs, this low-key bar is a worthy addition to the blossoming downtown scene.
The atmosphere: Dark wood, dim lighting, and private booths give The Woolworth the feel of old-school jazz. This bar even has its own library, with everything from Wuthering Heights to Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes, for your perusing pleasure. Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated spot to catch a sports game or a romantic locale for a first date, the Woolworth is your place. Bonus: If you haven’t seen The Joule’s first sculpture garden installation, the bar offers the perfect place to ogle Eye, a giant eyeball sculpture.
The crowd: On a Saturday night, The Woolworth was busy, but not overcrowded. The patrons kept to themselves in small groups, and as the night went on, a steady stream trickled in (most of them middle-aged professionals).
Where to sit: There isn’t a bad spot in the joint. Barstool booths are located by the televisions if you’re looking for sports, but for something a little more private, grab a seat up front for a street view. If you’re like me and enjoy watching your drinks crafted, sidle up to the bar.
What to drink: It was chilly on the early Saturday night when a friend and I arrived, and I hunkered down to stay. My partner-in-crime and I settled on five cocktails from the list. Yes, five. I started out with the Corpse Reviver, which was refreshingly citrusy, with a strong gin kick. If you’re looking for a drink that tastes like fall, reach for the Old Fashioned Vanilla, a rye whiskey drink garnished with an ice sphere and cinnamon stick. The El Hefe mixes mezcal and tequila into a strong concoction complemented by grapefruit. While the Smoke and Spice had an impressive presentation (cayenne sugar rim, smoking from dry ice), it was a little strong on the ‘spice’ for me and was my least favorite of the bunch. We even had an off-the-menu concoction: a cucumber drink that tasted like an adult version of spa water, crafted for us by the bartender, Mike. All were priced at $12, which seemed like a great deal for some of the larger drinks (Old Fashioned Vanilla), but a little steep for those served in dainty cups (Corpse Reviver).
The fare: According to the wait staff, The Woolworth’s menu mirrors that of Stone Street Martini’s. It even has the same chef. I tried the caprese lollipops, street slider, and truffle fries, and all of them are dishes I would order again. The sliders, which are priced individually at four dollars, were a little on the small side for the price, but delicious. The brunch menu, which boasted dishes like “The Hangover” (buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken, fried eggs and country ham) and huevos rancheros, also features bottomless mimosas and sangria.
What to wear: The Saturday evening crowd was dressed up. Patrons were wearing everything from jeans and heels to slinky dresses. For the fellas, a button-down and jeans would be just fine.
The service: Sitting at the bar provided plenty of face time with Mike, The Woolworth’s bartender, who was more than willing to accommodate our flavor preferences. The owner, Brandon Luke, is an active serviceman, and greeted guests in uniform. He checked in on us repeatedly, a rare experience these days.
The verdict: If you’re looking to impress somebody with your knowledge of discrete bars with a lot of attitude, stop by The Woolworth for a low-key evening with great cocktails and food.