Ready for That Slap Across the Face

If you've ever been to the Tadich Grill in San Francisco then you know the feeling of being enveloped in the crushing embrace of old school epicurean culture. You know that feeling of wading into a pool of hedonism soaked humanity of the rough and proper sort.

The 21 Club in New York, though probably more compelling to the swinging proper crowd, is also said to exude an old school crush of culinary and imbibiious delights.

Mention of these two bi-coastal icons in a Santa Rosa Press Democrat article got my blood racing today. A new restaurant opened in Santa Rosa, the article reports: Jack & Tony's Restaurant and Whiskey Bar. They describe the place thus:

"It is modeled after legendary restaurants like Tadich Grill in San Francisco and 21 Club in New York, with a whiskey list of more than 100 labels"

100 Whiskeys.

Now this idea will not appeal to everyone. But it appeals to this boy.100 Whiskeys for me to exploreJackandtonys
under one roof that is there to house aspirations inspired by Tadich Grill and the 21 Club? Maybe my own expectations will be dashed by poor service or the poorly made Manhattan or the crush of Trendys there to stake out a claim in a place they have no business sullying. But maybe a new and better way of living has arrived in my neck of the woods.

What gets my motor running is the thought of dark paneled walls. Leather lined stools. The firm upholstered chairs wrapped half moon around a solid wood table. The glint and sparkle of light reflected off of countless whiskeys, bourbons and ryes sitting on glass shelves behind the bar. The rough murmur
of a contented crowd, some in coats, some in ties, some with a hint of cleavage to share.

This is the whiskey culture that appeals to me. But in the end, it all stems from the spirit itself.

Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac. All different, but all the same really. They are the brown ones. They are the drinks that promote a slow attack at the glass. Sure, the occasional shot is called for, but why would one do such a thing with anything other than the lesser brown spirits that are better built for dribbling rather than imbibing. No, the brown spirits are there for us to savor, similar to the way we treat good wine, but, I think, with a bit more respect—for the power they wield.

And it is the power and the bite of these brown spirits that give them much of their appeal. While there are layers and gradations of bite in these different brown spirits due to their distillation and aging requirements, the bite is inescapable and what those of us who love these drinks often crave.

To truly really appreciate the whiskeys and brandys and scotches, you must be willing to embrace the bite
they deliver. The bite of bourbon and whiskey is the equivalent of the soft slap across the face that comes when he's been a bit too fresh. Exhilarating.  Brandy, cognac and Armagnac are the equivalent of a
passionate slap on the ass. You either have to be willing to appreciate
it or not indulge at all.

So I'm hoping that Jack & Tony's Restaurant and Whiskey Bar, with their 100 Whiskeys, provides the proper environment where one can appreciate a good, passionate slap on the ass and all the while provide that soft chair where the blow can be cushioned and where the glint of brown bottles illuminates just the right, appreciative crowd.

10 Responses

  1. Fermento - February 18, 2009

    Dude, I have one perfect phrase for you regarding this post:
    “Word Up!”
    Jack and Tony’s is now on my hit list! Please warn me ahead of time if it disappoints.

  2. The Blog Wine Cellar - February 18, 2009

    I am a huge wine guy but I really enjoy a good Bourbon. I love the vanilla and creaminess of them. Scotch is a bit rough for me but I like to pretend to appreciate it when around real Scotch aficionados! Cognac is a brilliant drink too, but I can’t afford to explore it at the moment. Cheers!

  3. fredfric koeppel - February 19, 2009

    It’s 8:30 in the morning as I read this post, and by god if you haven’t made me want a little snort of Woodford Reserve before I go to work!

  4. Morton Leslie - February 19, 2009

    Talk about “old school Yugoslavian epicurean culture” about 35 years ago I met another winemaker at Tadich for an early dinner on the way to a wine and food society meeting. Each of us had a bottle of unreleased white wine with us and sand dabs on the mind. As we sat at the bar drinking gin waiting for a table, we asked the guy behind if he could put the bottles on ice for us. With a gleam in his eye he grabbed the bottles one in each hand and said,”Thanks, alot” and disappeared. We never saw him again.

  5. Dylan - February 19, 2009

    Wow. Thanks for this announcement, Tom. I’m definitely a bourbon fan and would love the opportunity to explore more labels than I have. I have to say this is some of the best writing you’ve done lately, possibly because it’s so inspired by your drink of choice.

  6. JohnLopresti - February 19, 2009

    I liked the separate thoughts about the cognac and its cousins, as I think it has charm akin to its parent grape’s still tablewine product; and these all differ from the scotches… This has remained accentuated in my mind since studies of the thoroughness of Amerine and Ough revealed judges wholly ignore studying the actual difference between consuming the compared contestants in their county fairs and famous revues. There is even terroir in the different rums, to my organoleptic system of evaluating them. For now, I will keep developing these theories. The question of the merit of Tadich’s I defer to the knowledgeable and the fortunate. Nice place in a wonderful town, which seems to morph over time and lose class, and still has so much more class to ‘lose’.

  7. vinod1kumar15 - February 20, 2009

    for more details

  8. mydailywine - February 20, 2009

    Bourbon is the gateway drug to the brown spirits ad easy to like due to it’s typical sweetness. But I started exploring Scotch many years ago while living in Australia.
    My local music shop guy (remember when we had those?) suggested I sit down by myself with a glass of scotch to listen to the new Sigur Ros album (this was their first album’s European pre-release).
    It was a change of life experience.

  9. Jim - February 20, 2009

    Gonna be a great spot, but give them some time… I hear their liquor license is not active yet, so we’ll all have to wait a bit for the 100 whiskeys…

  10. Tom Wark - February 20, 2009

    I checked….License in hand, whiskey on shelves. We’re good to go.

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