Openings

What To Eat & Drink at The European, New in Union Square

By Virginia Miller | June 9, 2014 By Virginia Miller  |  June 9, 2014
Photo by: Virginia Miller

The European, a gorgeous new metropolitan-style bar, opened on June 6th in The Warwick hotel. Right in the midst of all the Union Square galleries and theaters, the bar sits across the hotel lobby from its highly anticipated sister restaurant, Aveline where Top Chef alum Casey Thompson runs the kitchen. Bartender Adam Wilson (last seen at Berettaoversees an elegant, relaxed bar that's dark with sleek blacks, globe chandeliers and warm orange banquettes. Wilson did much of his research through historic cocktail books and drinking his way through the historic and modern great bars of Paris. He then crafted a menu based on the unique cocktail renaissance that took Europe during the Prohibition Era. At that time, many U.S. bartenders migrated overseas and an America-meets-Europe style of drinks was born, where America's booze-forward drinks met Europe's lighter, low-proof aperitifs and Champagne cocktails. 

Wilson's menu is grouped by aperitifs ($8), sparkling/Champagne ($10), long (lighter drinks in a tall Collins glass), crushed (over crushed ice), up (more spirit-forward, no ice)  and "down" (served on the rocks; $12). He's working with house sommelier Betsy Ross to develop an extensive sparkling wine/Champagne program with plenty of half-bottles on offer. In addition, the bar has it's own menu from talented Chef Thompson and it is as intriguing as the drinks (think house "Spam" on Texas toast with grape jelly). Visit The European Sunday-Thursday, 5 PM - 12 AM and Friday-Saturday from 5 PM -1 AM. But first, check out a few of our early favorite drinks and bites below. And remember to check back for a look at top plates from Aveline tomorrow. 490 Geary St., 415-292-6430

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  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    The European's elegant back space is like a stylish lounge or study.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    One of our top two initial favorites: this Violet Fizz ($12) combines gin with cream and seltzer. It's like a glorified egg cream: fizzy and crisp with light, creamy notes. House black currant and creme de violette puree is dramatically poured into the beverage right before your eyes. White and marked by shocks of violet with an edible flower garnish, it's almost too pretty to drink. But then you stir it all together into a soft purple hue and it goes down all too easy. 

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    We cleaned the whole bowl of chicken skin chips ($15). These little shards stand tall in earthy-fresh eggplant cream. The dip is smoky with both eggplant and charred onions. Trout roe pops with orange color and juicy flavor.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Our other initial favorite drink is the unique Sauternes Punch ($11). The sweet of Bordeaux's beloved dessert wine is tempered by celery, lemon, orange and white pepper for a nuanced, vegetal-sweet-tart thirst-quencher.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Where there is Champagne, there must be oysters. And there are plenty to choose from here. These Fanny Bay bivalves from British Columbia are served with yuzu mignonette.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Cocktail de Triomphe ($12) is pink and playful with pink peppercorns and lime zest adding bursts of flavor to each sip over crushed ice. The spirit base is funky, grassy rhum agricole from the French island of Martinique. The rhum plays with lime, a splash of tart sloe gin and bitters for another revitalizing drink.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Say "yes" to meaty hunks of housemade "Spam" ($13). You smear mini-rounds of Texas toast with sweet black grape jelly and never fear Spam again.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    The house signature cocktail is in the low alcohol/aperitif category: The European ($8), ideal for daytime sipping (when brunch starts at the end of the summer!) and early evening. The drink combines Campari, grapefruit, gum syrup, lemon, and seltzer. It tastes like the best elements of an Americano, Campari Spritz and a Negroni all rolled up in one.

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