The coloring book craze is nothing new, commanding prime real estate in grocery store checkout lines, drugstore aisles, and bookstore displays, but channeling it into a cocktail menu at the most innovative bar in San Diego? That's liquid genius.
Never before has "staying inside the lines" been more fun or (ahem) more difficult. In a stroke of du jour insight, Polite Provisions has unveiled their hue-inspired 25-page menu for customers to color whilst perusing and sipping.
The book is the brainchild of bartender and proprietor Erick Castro and was hand rendered by Consortium Holdings' designer Dane Danner. But this open canvas menu isn't just for lonely, tortured artists to sullenly color in a corner. This activity-based book is bursting with brain benders including a crossword puzzle, word search, maze, and fill-in-the-blank trivia. Did we mention there are 80 cocktails in there, too?
Inspired by his 3,000 mile travels across the United States and his upcoming documentary Bartender at Large, Castro ruminated and researched the idea for more than a year before revealing the menu last month.
Danner worked on his illustrations for a year as well, spending more than 100 hours creating true-to-life 2D replicas of the cocktails for mouthwatering effect. When asked about his favorite part of the menu, he replied "my favorite part was dropping it off at Polite Provisions." Whew, right?
- Highlights of the behemoth menu
- There are 13 categories (that's correct) of cocktails.
- Fret not beer lovers, there is a section for you, including the coffee and stout Dublin Iced Coffee and Austin Powers/Beyonce-inspired Foxy Cleopatra with cider.
- Bubbles take center stage in a series of Champagne cocktails, with nods to powerful women like the Madonna-esque Beautiful Stranger and Cateyln Stark (Game of Thrones, people) in Lady Stoneheart.
- Like a Goonie on the search for One-Eyed Willie, Erick dug into the past and revived cocktails from a bygone era in a section titled Lost Classics, with some dating back to the 1800s.
- Bottled cocktails are now a thing, and Polite is serving them up, including the Kojima cocktail, a "barrel-aged soy sauce blend," served in, you guessed it, one of those cute restaurant soy sauce glass pourers.
- Polite was undoubtedly one of the first bars to incorporate draft cocktails, and the popularity continues with a range of classic selections, and even a few served on nitro. Beer people again, that's for you.
- Bring your sweet tooth when you dive into the dessert cocktail section, which features a variety of sweet drinks including a Strawberry Vanilla Milk Punch with cognac.
There are a dizzying array of selections, so we suggest grabbing a table, laying out the coloring pencils (provided by Polite) and making a night of it.
Erick's documentary Bartender at Large will be released in Summer 2017.
Polite Provisions, 4696 30th St., North Park, 619.677.3784, politeprovisions.com