There are only a few differences between the newest Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza on Nicollet Avenue and 26th Street from its other two locations. The blistery, fire-kissed crust remains the same. The toppings are all the familiar menu items, like the creamy ricotta and meatball slices. What’s new is the toasty smell of the wood-fired grill, the selection of grilled meats served off that fire (which come with addictive, pickle-spiced giardinara) and a beautiful full bar. While the North Loop and St. Paul locations offer wine and beer, it’s only this spot on Eat Street that has all the booze.
The bar occupies a judicious space in the front of the room. (The last incarnation of this restaurant had a bar that dominated the room like your mom at a kegger: awkward and uninvited.) The sleek, dark wood invites elbows for a comfortable lean, and the list of cocktails features tidy takes on classics.
The whiskey sour base begins with Evan Williams bourbon. This is my home-bar bourbon. It’s an affordable pour without sacrificing flavor. The caramel notes in the spirit are accented with a Demerrara sugar–based simple syrup, cut with bright lemon juice and shaken until just diluted enough to take the edge off. A creamy little foam collects at the top of the lowball before mellowing into the balanced beverage. The gentle campfire smell generated from the kitchen also accents this drink. It’s available for just a couple of bucks during happy hour, which runs from 2–5 p.m.