Food & Drink
Sinatra’s Cocktail Bar Has Class, But Can It Swing?
Published: January 22, 2014
With its live jazz music and varied cocktails, Sinatra’s Cocktail Bar looks to hearken back to the golden age of Vegas swagger, when the Rat Pack was in its heyday and cheap casino buffets were unimaginable. By and large, Sinatra’s succeeds in that aim, but they don’t go all the way.
The main bar, not to mince words, is stunning. Tall, expansive and filled with proper glassware, the impressively lit bar is definitely the centerpiece of Sinatra’s. But it doesn’t stop there. Elegant chandeliers provide subdued lighting (enhancing the glow of the bar), lacquered wood adorns most surfaces and fancy fixtures throughout complete the feel. Hell, even the bathroom is classy, what with its marble and tile surfaces.
When a place gets so much right, it is sometimes the little things they get wrong that really stand out. All this classy accouterment is derailed by some questionable layout and design choices. First, while Sinatra’s has a lounge feel, it doesn’t actually have a place to truly lounge. The bar practically screams for a nice couch or a comfy seating area. As it stands now, with bar tops on one side and dinner tables on the other, it has a rather bland identity at odds with its charismatic namesake.
Secondly, from the outside in, you are looking at a swanky lounge. From the inside out though, you stare into the parking lot, watching valets sprint back and forth and a lady pick up her dog from the groomer. While big, clear glass windows might be fine for a Gymboree, a lounge would be better suited to have some more privacy. Wood paneling or some sort of window shade would do wonders for the desired intimate, laidback feel.
Back inside, you can soothe that cognitive dissonance with Sinatra’s particular take on food and drink. Specializing in creative, custom flambé desserts (bananas foster, cherries jubilee and flamed strawberry shortcake all run $6 and are prepared tableside with a nice touch of showmanship), coffee drinks and craft cocktails, Sinatra’s does all three pretty well.
Even outside its daily happy hour (3 to 7 p.m.), Sinatra’s is fairly priced for what you get. Trained mixologists behind the bar will treat you to classic drinks such as the Aviation, Americano and Gimlet ($5 a piece), as well as some more modern, infused cocktails from their Signature Smoked Cocktail line. The Smokey Old Fashioned, with Bulleit rye, brown sugar and orange bitters, is smoked with maplewood chips that have been infused in dry Curaçao. Whatever witchcraft they used, it truly does transform the drink. A Smokey Negroni and Smokey Manhattan are also available. Hopefully, Sinatra’s will expand this menu.
Outside of cocktails, coffee and desserts, Sinatra’s has a solid selection of craft beers for those so inclined, as well as a few TVs (which look out of place in a classy joint like this) for the sports watchers out there. While there are better places to go for either, these options sufficiently check a box on most people’s list.
It does seem like the buzz is finally catching up with Sinatra’s, and the growing pains are evident. On this particular Saturday night, they were woefully understaffed. As the server told us: “We’ve never been this busy.” That much was clear, as 20 to 30 minutes would pass between server sightings. The bartenders and servers they did have were extremely friendly. But once again, they were too few, and their service was sporadic. This unexpected influx of customers seemed to affect the backend as well. A Moscow Mule served outside its signature copper cup because they ran out of clean ones? What is this, prison?
With all it does right, Sinatra’s appears to have a bright future. While it might not fly to you the moon just yet, pay it a visit and enjoy playing among the stars.
1846 N Loop 1604