New life at The Country Bar

Barrel-aged cocktails roll out May 21st at The Country Bar.

The Country Bar, reopened under new ownership, is rolling out cocktails this month aged in oak barrels.

“The Manhattan is almost ready to go,” said owner Todd Smith.

Smith remembers visiting the bar as a high schooler (it was the only place around that would let him in), and watching punk rockers at the bar in a ketchup fight.

“I always liked this bar,” he said.

Country_BarWhen the business went up for sale, the Nomad World Pub owner and Tangletown resident bargained instead to purchase the entire building. He discovered the bar was once an alley — two exterior walls were roofed over to make a new building. Original sign paint for a hardware store remains over the booths, and they adapted the lettering as the typeset for the Country Bar menu.

After renovating the building, Smith said he can’t believe the front wall never came down. He removed a radiator upstairs and the floor fell a few inches due to lack of support.

IMG_3414_Now the building is shored up and reinforced, with a back-alley patio and fireplace.

The animated sign outside Country Bar is new to Uptown, but it once hung at Hagen’s Wildest Traders in the Seven Corners neighborhood. It came down when the company went out of business, and was displayed in a Holiday Inn lobby in the 80s. It had been in storage when Smith decided to restore it and take on the red tape of installing it on the building.

Smith thought about changing the bar name when he bought the building, but decided against it.

“Everybody would call it the Country Bar anyway,” he said.

He kept the antler chandeliers and the taxidermy and installed new flooring, new (clean) bathrooms and a new copper-top bar.

BarrelThe bar may be clean, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more expensive, Smith said, pointing to the $4 Lone Star Tallboys. And they’ve got the original Shorty and Wag’s recipe for chicken wings.

Happy hour is 4-6 p.m. Monday thru Friday, Wednesday is $5 burger night, and karaoke is Monday at 10 p.m., overseen by 4onthefloor singer/songwriter Gabriel Douglas.