The Georgian Terrace Hotel celebrated the opening of their new bar and restaurant Proof and Provision with a media preview earlier this week. Located beneath the wide-open white marble of the Livingston, the basement bar plays a distinct foil to the upstairs neighbor. The ceilings are low while the Livingston’s are high; the walls are raw brick while the Livingston’s are polished; the lights are dim while the Livingston’s are bright. You get the idea. The menu strikes a similar note – where the Livingston is suited for elegance, P&P aims at opening up the collar. As chef Zeb Stevenson put it at the party, the menu is meant to be “Real fun, not bullshit fun.”
For Stevenson, “real fun” translates to an inexpensive selection of reinvented bar bites: chicken liver mousse served in little tin cans, hardwood-smoked almonds, fontina grilled cheese sandwiches, house made beef hot dogs stuffed into potato dough. On Monday night, small tastes of these circulated while the invited members of the media quaffed selections from the cocktail menu as fast as the bar could make them. You couldn’t throw one of those hardwood-smoked almonds without hitting a food blogger.
It’s hard to get a real impression of a place during one of these media previews – they’re something akin to experiencing a restaurant in a (very chatty) vacuum – but Proof and Provision showed off some intriguing notes. The cocktail list is, in fact, playfully fun and worth exploring. Like a number of places these days, they’re jumping on the barrel-aged trend with rye manhattans and negronis that sport a woodsy depth. I preferred the negroni and the Southern 75, a clever spin on the French 75 that uses bourbon and beer in place of gin and champagne. Then, there’s a vodka drink they’re calling “When I Was Eight,” which tastes like a boozed-up version of milk leftover from a bowl of Froot Loops. This may delight or horrify you. I was something in between.
The menu has an interesting range. I could see someone dropping in for a can of beer and a snack or two without spending even $15. Just as easily, I could see how a couple people could work their way through the spreads and cocktail list and blow more through plenty of cash. It’s likely that this place could be a mob scene after events the Fox, but that’s assuming people can actually find the basement location. Otherwise, this could be a quiet little place to get a cocktail and a few bites of chicken liver mousee. That might be real fun.
Photo of Southern 75 courtesy Jeff Moore / Garnish Photography / Green Olive Media