Let's get this straight: Warehouse is a bar — a good one — but a bar nonetheless. You won't find glow sticks or deafening dubstep music here. Instead "Simple Man" subtly wafts through a large open space with lots of exposed brick, riveted metal accent walls, and a long, inviting bar.
Though not deafening, Warehouse is loud with cheerful conversations and boisterous laughter. The communal tables are packed and everyone looks to be having a fine time. In the back, victory chants erupt from the foosball table, and a sigh of defeat follows a quick game of 9-ball. Cocktails flow.
Warehouse serves a damn good shandy, and we're not talking about the Leinenkugal variety. The refreshing Shandy Shakedown ($6) showcases the ever-popular Westbrook White Thai, incorporating Aperol, St. Germain, and a touch of fresh lemon juice. It's near impossible to drink just one. Bartenders rise to the occasion with other libations too, such as the Pink Plush: Tobago white rum shaken with grapefruit juice, St. Germain, Lime, and a splash of soda ($7.50). A few cocktails, like the rum, peach, and ginger-inspired Pool Party ($16), come in a pitcher big enough to serve two to three people.
Wine by the bottle, bubbles by the glass, and six rotating beers on tap (two of which are nitro) offer a little something for everyone. The drinks are good, but what I'm obsessing over is the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen, where Chef Eva Keilty transcends mere bar food.
Deviled eggs with creamy, curried yolk rest below a crispy fried oyster and sweet chow-chow ($1.75). Mediterranean spices sing in lamb meatballs that come nestled in a deep bowl with fresh, local field peas, baba ganoush, and creamy cucumber yogurt ($10). To the side are two grilled pieces of Brown's Court Bakery bread. A creative take on a spring roll surprises with a filling of shredded trotter meat and shrimp. The crispy golden-brown rolls perch on a bed of zesty sesame soba noodles and zucchini udon with a sweet pepper jelly and a remarkable edamame horseradish purée ready for dipping. I cleaned the plate in no time.
A chalkboard lists the specials, which change daily, but usually include charcuterie and cheese boards as well as the deviled egg of the day. All the charcuterie is made in-house, and Kurobuta rillettes, country pâté with pistachio, chicken liver "faux" gras, and German potato sausage were recently featured ($14).
A salad of tomato terrine, bibb lettuce, fried green tomato, bacon mayo, and local shrimp comprise the Shrimp B.L.T. salad ($12). We particularly liked the fig and pig tart ($13), with vibrant-green-fried kale, yellow beans, and local figs, bacon, and pork confit accented with a touch of mustard truffle vinaigrette — truly a sinful salad.
Portions are small and meant for sharing, perfect for the grilled cheese sandwiches, which are made with Brown's Court bread and come stuffed with ingredients like housemade chorizo, manchego, tomatillo crema, avocado, and jicama pico. Candied bacon, smoked pimento cheese, oven-roasted tomato, and fried green tomato transform a typical grilled cheese and tomato sandwich into something special. The tender beer-braised beef brisket with Jarlsberg cheese and French onion was also a favorite ($8.50).
A bar has to have some typical bar food, and the Memphis confit wings fit the bill nicely ($9.50). The wings are flash fried to bring up some crunch then get the royal treatment from the sweet and spicy Memphis dry rub. They're crisp, hot, and hit the spot, but it's the charred corn pudding on the side that steals the show — sweet, light, fluffy, and outright delicious. Naturally, wings pair well with beer, particularly the Stone IPA, which is available both in 10-ounce ($4.50) and 16-ounce ($6) pours.
The beef brisket and Jarlsberg cheese play nicely with the Victory Donnybrook stout, and the Shandy Shakedown complements the fig and pig tart. This is food that goes hand and hand with booze, but it's sophisticated enough to shine on its own.
Yes, Warehouse is just a bar, but it's a good one. Young professionals and college coeds already swarm the trendy new establishment, sipping on edgy cocktails and suds-filled pints of craft beer. Games will be played, laughter will erupt, and someone will get hungry. And when that happens, they'll dive into an indulgent tower of s'mores torte and be very, very happy.