Opening up in the old Park space on Henderson, Swig bills itself as a Beer-garden and Speakeasy in combination with its bar the Gin Mill, located in the former Bar Celine spot in back. With much of the interior remaining the same Henderson Ave residents will feel right at home in the space now owned by the guys behind Capital Pub.
Swig boasts an impressive beer menu divided by country of origin as well as a very nice selection of Gins, Scotches, Whiskeys, and Bourbons in addition to its completely revamped menu.
One of the best feature on the beer menu is it’s list of Combination Beverages such as the Half & Half (Stella and Guinness), Black Velvet (Crispin and Guinness), and Barcelona (Crispin and Estrella Dram). Unfortunately the Gin Mill Cocktail Menu, which looked quite impressive, was not available at Swig or was any other specialty cocktail menu leaving us no choice but to stick with we knew, versus trying out any of the more interesting thigh end and specialty liquors they had to choose from.
The menu lends itself to shared plates and snack with a focus on appetizers like Steamed Pork Belly Buns and Truffle Oil Fries (delicious!), flat breads made with local ingredients, and meat and cheese trays highlighting European and American cheeses as well as house-made pate.
A nice selections of sandwiches like the Vietnamese Banh Mi and Jimmy’s Meatball Sandwich, salads and burgers round out the menu with only two main dishes listed to finish it off: bar steak and fish and chips.
We enjoyed the Battered Mushrooms appetizer and fell in love with the Bacon Shallot and Lemon and Caper Aioli dressings that came with the dishes. The tempura battering on both the mushrooms and the fish was exceedingly light and crispy and only need a touch of salt added to bring out the flavors hidden underneath.
The Wild Boar Flatbread made with Jimmy’s Wild Boar Sausage, caramelized onions, and split blue cheese with fresh basil came out on the thinnest sliver of crispy bread and was piled high with the sweet, spicy sausage. We did find the amount of Blue cheese to be overwhelming at times but the fresh Basil definitely helped to keep the food tasting fresh and light where might otherwise feel heavy. In all, the only real disappointment of the night was to find that our wine of choice, the Padrillos Malbec was out of stock.
The bar area already had patrons lined from one end to the other, enjoying their beers and sharing some laughs. As employees and patrons greeted each other throughout the evening you got the impression that while the food, drinks, and decor of Swig have gone through an upgrade since its time as Park that its comfort and friendly neighborhood feeling have definitely remained the same.