New bar alert! Well, sort of. The Cat Eye Club's (370 Seventh Ave., Downtown) not brand new—it's been around since February—but, it's new enough and it's outstanding. The décor is a mix of lounge and upscale British pub, with leather chairs, a (faux) fireplace and a coffered ceiling. The default background music is 1960s jazz and exotica—kept at a level that allows for conversation—and the current menu fits the vibe, with classics like the Vieux Carre, Whiskey Smash and Corpse Reviver. The drinks here are exceedingly well made: Order a standard like an Old Fashioned or a Sazerac and youíll get damn-near perfection, especially if Cory Alberto, the main guy behind the bar, prepares your drink.
Alberto says the upcoming fall menu will include more classics but also some seasonal creations.
Earlier this year, Golden Hillís Counterpoint secured a full liquor license and, in late May, rolled out a cocktail menu (if you dig mescal, the k3251 is a nice, smoky twist on a margarita). The restaurant just announced via Facebook that some barrel-aged cocktails are in the works: a maple Old Fashioned and a Negroni. They'll be ready on Oct. 29, so mark your calendar.
While some bars and restaurants rely on in-house folks to dream up menus and train bar staff, others turn to consultants. San Diego's got a few good groups already, like Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. and the trio of Ian Ward, Jen Queen and Lucien Conner. Add to those Rumbling Tins Co., which includes Sycamore Den's Eric Johnson, Bankers Hill's Christian Siglin, Craft & Commerce's Alex Maynard and Leigh Lacap and David Kinsey—both of whom you can find at Sycamore Den and Craft & Commerce. In July, Rumbling Tins collaborated with Coffee & Tea Collective to come up with some coffee cocktails to celebrate the North Park spot's anniversary (more coffee cocktails, please!) and is working on a menu for Vista's Urge: Craft Alley, a sister restaurant to Urge Gastropub that's scheduled to open in early 2014.