The rustic wood of the long bar, shines subtly in the low, golden flickering lights. The laconic bar man flashes an endearing smile as he expertly shakes a heady mix of top shelf spirits and handcrafted accents. He’s careful to make certain every guest feels like his priority, an invited guest to an exclusive dinner party. Behind the bar there is a wide selection of known and to-be-explored bottles. Viles containing shrubs, bottle-aged spirits, liqueurs, bitters and more. Behind the bar, the open kitchen works furiously to churn out carefully crafted dishes of comfort foods. It’s a busy night and guests gather near the bar, sipping the collection of season drinks in a mix of clear glass shapes.
The scene could be set inside any metropolitan area, but the place we’re inside tonight is Lyn 65 and it’s in a nondescript strip mall. The strip mall eatery treasure is nearly a thing of urban dining legend. This is the kind of thing that draws the foodie urbanite outside of the inner city with the promise of a beautiful meal. I think it’s safe to say that Lyn 65 is the first craft cocktail treasure to pop up in a strip mall in the cities. Travis Serbus (co-owner of Lyn 65 along with chefs Ben Rients and Jason Sawicki) is the man behind the bar and from the day they opened, he’s been serving drinks that have had all the liquoratti swooning.
The menu has just changed for the fall season and the cocktail names have turned ghoulish for October. There’s the Bulleit Proof; Cut, Cut, Stab, Kill and the Jack Skellington. (All house cocktails are just $9).
The Skellington is a heady mix of rich autumnal flavors. Jim Beam 8 year old bourbon is mixed with a pumpkin shrub spiked with apple cider vinegar, allspice liqueur that are made in house with birch syrup, black walnut and apple bitters. There’s a bitterness lurking deep beneath these sultry flavors, but the threads of amber sweetness hold that taste at bay. It’s as smooth as old, worn leather, rich as a Roosevelt and swirling the cocktail around your mouth draws out intriguing, dark spices. It’s everything that rocks about fall in a glass. Even better? You can only find it in a strip mall in Richfield.