Friday, April 17, 2009

Now open: Manifesto

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 9:45 AM

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If speakeasies are supposed to be hard to get into, then Manifesto wins. I knew the recently opened bar was located directly below 1924 Main and that you're supposed to go around the back to enter. What I didn't know was the access code for the keypad on the door, or which suite number to dial. Turns out there is no keypad number to dial. You simply press the call button. After you're buzzed in you descend down old wooden steps, past a fuse box and gas meter, before going through brown curtains and traveling back in time 80 years.

Manifesto partner Ryan Maybee says the inspiration for the space and

the menu came from the old days. "I've always

and will forever be fascinated by the high form, the skill level, the

creative level of bartenders and mixology ... my era is definitely

pre-prohibition, 1850 to 1920, a really good time for bars. Every drink

-- or nearly every one we serve -- is based on a classic cocktail."

click to enlarge An ice wedge sticking out of a Tom Collin's glass
  • An ice wedge sticking out of a Tom Collin's glass
That

is not to say Maybee is stuck solely in the past. He admits to

experimenting in molecular bartending and using some modern techniques.

But his focus is on

ingredients. The bar is a true scratch bar and then some. The type of

drink you get determines the type of ice. Right now there are four

different ices, from a square block in an old fashioned glass to a

rectangular wedge in a Tom Collins glass. The restaurant is working on

several infusions and eventually plans to make its own bitters.

The

menu has the same attention to detail. All drinks are listed by their

spirit. Next to each drink's name is a guide showing what type of glass

it comes in and whether it's shaken or stirred.

Some drink highlights include the Shatto Blanc made with Tito's vodka,

Shatto root beer milk, yellow Chartreuse and bitters. In the whiskey

category is the Jackson Co. Democratic Club Cocktail with rye, Luxardo,

yellow chartreuse, lemon and orange bitters. The Girl from Cadiz is

Hendrick's gin, sherry, lemon, mint and dried juniper berries.

Adding

to the speakeasy feel are the house rules on the back of the menu.

Yelling and screaming allowed only to warn of an impending police raid.

Guests must keep their shoes on and, thank God, "Please silence your

cell phone" is also included. My favorite rule is this:

Gentlemen,

please don't approach uninterested ladies. If you must, ask the

bartender to send her a drink on your tab, and she will let the

bartender know if it's OK for you to join her. Ladies, please feel

welcome to start a conversation with anyone you wish.

Chivalry

is not dead at Manifesto. Its hours are 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. seven days

a week, with a food menu from 1924's kitchen upstairs. Reservations aren't required but are a good idea on the weekends. Phone number is

816-536-1325.

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