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Village Whiskey to Open in Philadelphia

Submitted by on April 15, 2009 – 2:29 pmNo Comment

In June, Chef Jose Garces will debut his newest creation, Village Whiskey, an intimate, 30-seat neighborhood bar at 118 South 20th Street, Philadelphia, Pa. Chef Garces will serve a wealth of whiskies and inventive cocktails alongside simple, inexpensive bar food, prepared with his signature flair.

As one of the most comprehensive collections of its namesake spirit available in Philadelphia, Village Whiskey will feature a veritable library of 80 to 100 varieties of whiskey, bourbon, rye and scotch from Scotland, Canada, Ireland, United States and even a few Japanese options.  For those who desire something other than whiskey, a carefully chosen list of wines with a focus on sparkling wines;  and a beer list comprised exclusively of American craft beers will be available. A menu of Chef Garces’ bar snacks, burgers and tempting raw bar selections, all under $20, will complement the cocktails.

“I’ve always been a whiskey lover,” says Chef Garces, who owns Garces Restaurant Group which has four Philadelphia restaurants including Amada, Tinto, Distrito and Chifa.  “It can be enjoyed in so many ways, whether as a cocktail or just sipped on the rocks.  Village Whiskey is the kind of place I would want to go to unwind after a long day at work.”

An exciting array of 16 House Cocktails, developed by bar manager Paul Rodriguez, will be divided into two categories, Prohibition, or classic cocktails, and Repeal, more contemporary, modern takes.  The venerable Manhattan will be a mainstay, mixed using house-made bitters.  In addition to their own bitters, other one-of-a-kind, house-made mixers will be offered.

Classic “Prohibition” cocktails will include:  Old Fashioned, with Noah’s Mill 114-proof bourbon, Boissiere Italian vermouth, Fee’s Brothers oak-aged bitters, cherry and orange;  Sazerac with Sazerac rye, Herbsaint absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters and lemon;  and Philadelphia Fish House Punch, a favorite of George Washington’s interpreted by Chef Garces in the style of his wildly popular sangrias at Amada and Tinto, with rum, brandy, peach brandy, lemon, lime, orange and maraschino.  Contemporary “Repeal” cocktails will include:  Village Idiot, Fighting Cock Kentucky straight 108-proof whiskey with The Bruery Black Orchard seasonal black wheat beer and ginger;  The Latin Quarter Club, Cazadores reposado tequila, Flor de Cana rum, Johnny Walker Red, grapefruit and grapefruit bitters;  and Sansom Street Flip, Charbay blood orange vodka, seasonal fruit and egg white.  Cocktails will range in price from $11 to $18.

“Village Whiskey is a modern reinvention of a saloon, so our drinks are both recognizable and brand-new,” says Chef Garces, who is taking a departure from his popular Latin restaurants by opening this all-American bar.

Menu items, specially crafted by Chef Garces and Chef de Cuisine Dave Conn to complement the standout properties of whiskey and whiskey cocktails, will include:  Raw Bar selections of seasonal oysters and clams;  Charcuterie and Cheese Plate options; American Bar Snacks, such as housemade cheese puffs, spicy cheddar popcorn and honey-roasted Smokey Mountain peanuts;  and a selection of House-Cured Pickles, served with a cocktail fork in a miniature mason jar, including Baby Carrots and Kumquats with cider vinegar and thyme and Herb Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes with Ricotta.

A ground-to-order Angus Beef Burger, a Veggie Burger, a Bison Burger or a Vienna All-Beef Hot Dog with all the trimmings are each served alongside duck fat French fries and Sly Fox cheddar sauce.  Burgers will be topped with Village Whiskey’s house-made thousand-island dressing, Bibb lettuce, beefsteak tomato and a potato-beer bun, with optional toppings including bacon, caramelized onion, truffles, artichokes and a selection of cheeses.  The menu, which will be served all day, will range in price from $4 to $20.

The welcoming space that houses this library of liquor was designed by Jun Aizaki of Creme Design Collective, the creative force behind Garces’ four other Philadelphia restaurants.  Here, Aizaki was inspired by American saloons and speakeasies, drawing from illustrations of turn-of-the-century social clubs and old-fashioned liquor advertisements.

The space will evoke the free-wheeling spirit of a speakeasy or saloon with dim lighting, posters for various alcohols, a tin ceiling and antique mirrors.  Black and white tiled floors, white tiled walls, sumptuous russet leather banquettes, marble topped tables and wooden drink rails add to the traditional bar decor.  Behind the pewter bar with comfortable dark walnut stools, whiskies will be proudly displayed like leather-bound books.

Born in Chicago to Ecuadorian parents, Chef Jose Garces credits his family with inspiring and nurturing his interest in food from a young age.

Village Whiskey will be open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. until 1 a.m.  For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit the website or call 215:662-1088.

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