Mary Me


By Pat Sherman
Photos by Louis Guzman

University Heights’ unassuming rock ‘n’ roll tavern is giving the graveyard shift a reason to roll out of bed before 2 p.m. on weekends-the Bloody Mary Superior.

Served during Saturday and Sunday brunch, Small Bar’s colossal cocktail is garnished with a skewer of fresh shrimp, mushroom, tomato, pepperoncini and a blue cheese-stuffed olive.

It doesn’t stop there-also floating in the red sea of booze are a slice of candied bacon, green bean and a house-made pickle.

“The whole garden’s in it,” says Small Bar manager Karen Blair. “We start with Guinness in the bottom and we use the extra-thick Worcestershire sauce. We infuse our own vodka with garlic and chili peppers and then we have a house-made Bloody Mary mix that we make fresh every weekend.”

The rim is dusted with Tajín, a Mexican spice consisting of chili peppers, salt and dehydrated lime juice.

“Forget the straw,” Blair says. “You’ll want to sip out of the side and work your way around it.”

Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes one Bloody Mary Superior or classic cocktail of choice, including Small Bar’s Elephant Mule. The refreshing Moscow Mule hybrid is made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, lime, ginger beer, cherry syrup and vanilla bitters. It’s served in a copper mug to keep the drink cool. Be warned: that garnish is fresh ginger, not pineapple (regulars have fun watching the expression on newbies’ faces as they bite into the astringent herb).

Also served in copper cups are the Mormon Peach Mule and Small Bar’s Mint Julep, on the menu just in time for this year’s Kentucky Derby on May 7.

4628 Park Boulevard, University Heights
Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.