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July 23rd, 2014 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Bar Reviews
 

Bar Review: Swine

Shine On

clublist_swine_4038SWINE - IMAGE: Adam Wickham

Back in the day, moonshine was an unfortunate side effect of a bad legal situation—a hollow-sweet grain liquor of indeterminate toxicity. But at Swine (808 SW Taylor St., 943-5844, swankandswine.com), the old white lightning is a selling point, leaving aside that the strawberry-flavored Midnight Moon served here tastes like an oven-baked candy sheet. Billed as a home of moonshine and whiskey, the Paramount Hotel’s new Prohibition-themed bar has enormously friendly bartenders, a fake still, pre-aged wood displayed in the same spirit as stone-washed jeans, and an array of bottle lockers in the back wall to let regulars store their bourbon for later use. All well and good, except the Maker’s Mark costs $10, with more rarefied malts climbing to $250. As with most hotel bars, come during happy hour. Swine is the sister to Swank, a just-opened restaurant by vagrant chef Daniel Mondok, and its excellent bar food and select cocktails drop precipitously to around $6 before 6:30 pm and after 9:30 pm. A gunsmoke martini of Scotch and gin, off-happy hour for $10, lived up to its name: It tasted, pleasantly, as if powdered by muzzle flare. The salt-and-pepper calamari ($6 happy hour, $12 not) was one of the best versions I’ve had in town—light and soft to the point of delicate, with no hint of rubber. The $4 happy-hour Caesar salad comes as a blossom of butter lettuce that looks like a rose, pollinated by a magmalike soft-boiled egg and fashionably huge lardons. Order carefully, and Swine is a luxuriant, reasonably priced happy-hour bar. Don’t, and you pay a hefty fine. 

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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