The Bar Tab: At Bones, a fine mixologist earns plaudits

Bones

Mr. Bitters and Olive

The atmosphere at Bones Arcade, which has a hint of the sports bar about it, is pleasant enough.

What sort of person leaves a kegger? Well, apparently we do. As much as we love our friends, it’s time to admit that keg parties stop being fun when one of the following happens:

♦ You enter a monogamous relationship and are no longer into drunken hook-ups.

♦ Latent knee injuries make keg stands problematic.

♦ You learn the hard way that you can’t drink your dinner.

The latter consideration left us starving, and no amount of Beer Pong could fill that void. Luckily we were near the newly reopened Bones Arcade, so we decided to leave the kegger and check it out.

Bones Arcade is located at 1425 Broadwater Ave. One definite perk to this location is the parking lot. After circling downtown blocks for 10 minutes on a busy night, a parking lot can seem like a luxury.

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Walking into Bones, you can turn right or left. To the right, there were quite a few tables set up for family dining, but no distinctive atmosphere. To the left, there were booths, a full bar with seating and a large arcade/billiards space in back. There was no question—we turned left and sidled up to the bar.

Olive asked the kind bartender if they had any wine available. The bartender said they unfortunately had only boxed wines, but upon inspection we saw it was a decent label. A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon was soon delivered. Here we have to interject a pertinent public service announcement: to all the haters out there, boxes are a legitimate wine packaging system and prevent oxidation for two to four weeks, making them a viable option for bars that don’t see a lot of wine consumption.

They also provide excellent entertainment (i.e., Slap the Bag), but quality can vary greatly between brands, so they can require a little research to avoid disappointment. As a side note, the bartenders were genuinely interested in the quality of the wine they were serving and explained how they actively sought to provide something decent, albeit with limited selection. We appreciate the thought.

As usual, Mr. Bitters asked the bartender for an old-fashioned. The bartender answered that he couldn’t make one, as they don’t carry bitters. This was the best answer we’d gotten to this question in any of our bar visits. At least he knew the required ingredients.

Mr. Bitters ordered a gin martini instead, and the bartender proceeded to make a proper cocktail. The martini glass was chilled, ingredients were stirred (not shaken) in a Boston shaker and the concoction was strained perfectly, garnished with two olives. Server No. 2451, you have officially earned our respect.

With our rumbling tummies as a reminder, we asked for food menus but didn’t even look at them when the bartender told us a 14-inch pizza was on special for $8. We ordered a pie with fresh jalapenos and were delighted at the cheap meal we were about to receive. We decided to celebrate with a second round.

As we waited for our food, we took the opportunity to critique the overall atmosphere. Here is where we must address a few “cons.” The loud music was provided by a jukebox, and apparently the customer in charge had the musical sense of a brick. We listened as he worked his way through Jock Jams™ and Monster Ballads™, desperately waiting for someone else to take over.

Also, the billiards area was full of dozens of high school and college–aged kids. It made us feel like we were hanging out in a Student Union, which is not the vibe we’re usually after on a night out. Overall, it’s not a place we would recommend for a romantic date night, but it seemed like a good place to drink when you’re stuck with the kids for a night. Note: We are not parents—don’t worry.

Bones does have a very nice outdoor patio, complete with heaters and fire pits. If we hadn’t been there to eat, that might have been a much better atmosphere, but given the chilly night and no available tables, we remained inside.

Just before our pizza arrived, we heard a waitress ask, “Canadian bacon is ham, right?” and we started to worry about our own dinner. Despite these initial misgivings, our pizza came out looking satisfactorily cheesy, and sliced jalapenos are pretty hard to screw up. We noted that Bones serves its pizza Montana-style—with a side of ranch dressing. It tasted fine.

We sat and watched various sports offerings on several TVs perched above the bar. While Bones does not initially present itself as a “sports bar,” it was more than suited to the task, and had somehow found a way to provide multiple TVs without overpowering the aesthetic.

Another patron approached the bar seeking a cocktail and asked us what we’d recommend. Never being one to withhold an opinion, Mr. Bitters sang the praises of Server No. 2451. Our newfound friend ordered a lemon drop, and we watched as the master craftsman deftly prepared her cocktail. She tasted her drink and seemed satisfied, although we got the feeling she would have enjoyed a glass of Pucker just as much at that point in the evening.

At any rate, it is good to know the new Bones cares enough to employ a proper cocktail preparer.

After devouring the pizza, we got our tab and were amazed to find that the aforementioned martinis were only $3.75 each. An excellent value, which could prompt us to return … for further research, of course.

PROS
Well-made, affordable cocktails
Good specials

CONS
Music selection is at the mercy of the patron with the most quarters
Lots of kids/young adults
Menu limited to pizza and various fried/cheese-topped items (maybe this is a Pro?)

Previous reviews

Chapter 1The Squire Lounge.

Chapter 2The Alpine Casino.

Chapter 3Buck’s Bar.

Chapter 4Stadium Club.

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