I'll Take Manhattans: Silver Lake's Thirsty Crow Bourbon Bar Opens Tomorrow

It turns out that Silver Lakers are less into post-post-irony and more keen on higher-end, higher-quality bourbon, or so goes the raison d'etre for The Thirsty Crow, a whiskey-centric watering hole opening in the former Stinkers space this Friday night.

Spotlighting scotch, rye, and bourbon, The Thirsty Crow takes its name from an Aesop's fable about a resourceful bird with a love for whiskey. Owners Bobby Green, Dimitri Komarov and Dmitry Liberman (the trio behind The Bigfoot Lodge, Little Cave and Saints and Sinners) have created a bar that celebrates the "water of life" in multiple classic cocktails, signature drinks that riff on the classics, and straight pours of the good stuff. Sure, you can get beer, champagne cocktails, and other mixed spirits, too, but when they're shaking their Manhattans, there's no need to deviate.

The Thirsty Crow's Traditional Rye Manhattan is an exercise in balance, restraint and smoothness, offering a perfect melange of Sazerac Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. They offer three other variations on this classic, including a Molé Manhattan that incorporates a hint of spice and chocolate, and a Marmalade Manhattan which is made with Maker's Mark and orange marmalade.

But we sampled their Black Manhattan, which is the traditional revved up with a hint of caramel--but not the cloying sweet sauce of a Starbucks Macchiato. This drink has the warmth of the rye enhanced with a mild bite that reminded me of the notes that give Coca-Cola its spicy-sweet purr, with just the slightest roundness thanks to the dark cherry at the bottom. Not heavy, not tooth-achingly sweet, this was my favorite sip of the night.

Other great cocktails are their Mint Julep (with a few of these I could easily fuel myself for a day of eccentric hat-wearing at the Kentucky Derby) and the Thirsty Crow, which brings together Sazerac Rye Whiskey, citrus, bitters, and ginger beer for a crisp, refreshing, thirst-quenching cocktail served in a jar-like glass with a generous sprig of mint.

Heeding the wishes from locals who wanted to sip cocktails more demure than, say, a Pabst Blue Ribbon, The Thirsty Crow is poised to be a more elegant, but not pretentious, bar destination for whiskey lovers. If you aren't a whiskey lover yet, you can take advantage of their Whiskey Education program, which will get you in the know Sunday nights at 9. There's no food on the menu, but according to one bartender, they've got a BYO eats policy (food trucks, you may want to give them a call and plan to park outside), and there are some great eats from as close to next door (Local) to down the street (Dusty's, Malo).

Would I hang out here again? Absolutely, so long as the barkeeps keep up and ensure the horseshoe bar doesn't get stacked too deep with patrons ordering vodka tonics, and the vibe remains relaxed and welcoming.

The Thirsty Crow is opening the nest on Friday night with a big grand opening party from 5-close.