By Dr. Ink
No matter the weather, an intoxicating, tropical ambiance envelopes you when perched at the roomy bar inside The Patio on Goldfinch, which used to be an eyesore for the years it sat empty after housing a television repair shop.
A lot has changed since the structure became a hot-ticket restaurant. Its stunning design greets with a lush, living wall on the attractive front patio. Beyond that is a welcoming bar lounge, a glass-enclosed “cheese cave” and a rear dining area marked by another wall of thriving greenery. Skylights suck in the sunlight, or the night sky, and it suddenly feels as though you’re vacationing on some paradise island despite the parking headaches you encountered in getting here.
Sister was in town. She likes nice places and imaginative cocktails. When the price is right, so do I.
During happy hour, The Patio obliges by slashing 50 percent off most of its cocktails, as well as wines by the glass. Nearly a dozen craft beers sell for $5, with several of them served in full-pint measures. And from the long list of tequilas — high-end or otherwise — they’re all $4 off.
Struck by the organic beauty of the place, Sis ordered “Memories of Maui,” a cocktail that combines blueberry-infused vodka with citrus juice and fresh mint. Served in a tall Collins glass, the drink tasted like a first cousin of the mojito — fruitier with a touch of sourness.
The Patio’s cocktail menu features illustrations of the glasses in which the drinks are served. Our bartender gave us a rundown on some of them, such as the dainty “Nick and Nora” and the champagne-friendly “Coupe.” There are enough different types of glasses shown on the list to give trivia buffs a run for their drink money.
I opted for a beer, the “Jinx Remover” black lager by Fall Brewing Company in North Park. Just as our bartender assured, it was wonderfully toasty, pleasantly rich and rather effective in its punch considering the alcohol content is 7.2 percent.
Happy hour “bites” include dishes such as pumpkin curry mussels ($16), ahi poke tacos ($11), and the restaurant’s famous “beef & bleu” flatbread ($10). Compared to the reduced drink prices, the food didn’t strike us as good bargains.
We nonetheless tried a Cuban slider. Priced at $7, it was a miniscule thing that yielded four modest bites. Such petite fare used to be the stuff bars gave away for free during happy hour. The dish’s saving grace was the fries, which actually put some substance in our stomachs.
But The Patio is a lovely place to imbibe, especially during happy hour before the mad dinner rush begins. Regardless where you sit or what you drink, it feels as though you’ve entered into the Garden of Eden.