Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jury Room

When I originally started out on this bar-going venture of mine, I had this ridiculous notion that I was going to go to every bar once and write about it before going to any bar twice. Obviously, reality has prevented that from happening; of course I'm going to frequent bars nearer to where I live and work more than once each. But the intention behind my "every bar once before any bar twice" rule was to prevent myself from developing a couple favorites that I always went to and to encourage exploration. Well, as it turns out, Jury Room was the first bar to completely shatter that intention.

Jury Room has, apparently, been a bar in continuous operation since 1831. There are two things that instantly made it one of my favorites: the atmosphere, which has a wonderful, speakeasy feel that I can only describe as "old-timey," and the cocktails, which are not only interesting, but remarkably cheap. Jury Room is one of the Betty's restaurants, along with Dirty Frank's, Tip Top, and, of course, Betty's. But I like it so, so much more than any of those. In fact, I like it so much, that I think it's only appropriate to organize my liking-ness with a list:

I Like Jury Room Because...

  • The drinks are awesome. They have happy hour til 7 on weekdays, the highlight of which is $3 wells and cheap appetizers. If I had a dollar for every whiskey and ginger ale I've consumed at Jury Room happy hour, I'd have a lot of extra money to buy more whiskey and ginger ales at Jury Room happy hour. And that's to say nothing of their extensive and interesting cocktail list, which changes seasonally. At one point, they even had Singapore Slings on the menu. Oh, and I haven't even gotten to the beer list yet, which includes Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and, recently, a beer whose name I have forgotten but that contains 9% alcohol.
  • The food is good. My friends at Urbanspoon seem to be split on this point. Half the reviews rave about the food, and the other half seem to find it wanting. I'm with the first half. I think the menu is interesting--clam po' boys, shrimp-and-pesto pasta bake, and stuffed mushrooms, among others--and reasonably priced. The happy hour appetizers--fried zucchini, truffle french fries, and fried gnocchi--are good to munch on, and I also enjoy the calamari. I will admit that lately the fry cook seems to be a little deep fry-happy and I've had a few fried appetizers come out to me a bit on the well-done side, but it's $4 and they've always been more than willing to make me a new batch upon request.
  • It's a great place for conversation. I think that's one of the main reasons Jury Room has become one of my happy hour go-tos. It's usually not too crowded (though it can become so, depending on the time of day) or loud, and the wait staff seems to have no problem when I sit there with a friend or two and take up a table while ordering well drinks for three or more hours.
  • It's the perfect distance from where I work. There are closer bars, and cheaper bars, and bars with better food, but Jury Room is within walking distance while being juuuust far enough away that I'm not likely to run into my boss when I'm four cocktails in.
In conclusion, it breaks my heart that Jury Room isn't ranked higher on Urbanspoon. WHY DON'T PEOPLE LIKE MY FAVORITE BAR MORE. I just don't understand it. But you know what, fine, stay away, more $3 wells and outdoor seating for me.

Jury Room on Urbanspoon


  1. THANK YOU! I owe you a couple whiskey drinks & some not too well done fried goodness. What's your email?


    Liz Lessner

    1. Thank YOU for the awesome restaurant! Jury Room is my happy hour heaven. My email is