Bar Louie is an upscale bar. There’s beer on tap, a range of wines and more importantly, an impressive selection of cocktails. But unlike most bars you can find, Bar Louie is like a local bar. I mean sure, it’s a chain but each location is designed to be part of the community it belongs to. It’s a place where friends come for good food and of course, the drinks.
In the last few years, the chain decided to level up its food game. The menu was revised, introducing dishes that may be familiar to patrons but now come with a hint of creativity. For example, instead of a regular cheeseburger, they now have a burger with creamy herb cheese and bourbon jam. Entrees now include the Deep South Mac & Cheese which not only has pimento cheese but also candied bacon and fried chicken.
When Bar Louie underwent some menu upgrades it had to redesign its kitchen in a bid to become more efficient. To keep the projects manageable and the costs down, they kept the structure as is in its 70 locations, took out equipment that wasn’t needed and invest in better equipment. If there were any infrastructure changes it was minimal. For example, the hood remained the same length but they extended the chain’s gas line so as to make way for design changes. They also installed a new fire protection system.
It has a galley-style kitchen with the cold line facing the dining area. Two staffers work the line while one handles in the preparation in the back area during lunch hours. During peak hours, they have one line cook for each station.
Culinary staff handles the flatbreads using a refrigerated table on the cold line. They also assemble salads here where there are refrigerated drawers in lieu of doors for the backup ingredients.
Bar Louie is a bar and they made this the cornerstone of their redesign. They wanted a space that was relaxing, fun and easy on the eyes. Another thing they wanted to achieve was to create a place where people feel comfortable, whether it’s a date night, a family dinner, or a bachelorette party.
While the new design includes dark wood furnishings just like its old design, elements of orange and yellow have been added all around. It also features a hand-painted mural by a local artist and colored photography.
As my friends and I settle into a comfortable high-top table we were drawn to an impressive list of happy hour drink specials on the menu. There are at least 2 dozen draft beers to choose from, each for $3.25, there’s wine by the glass for $4.25 and a selection of signature martinis for $5.
Bar Louie is a bar and restaurant first and foremost, and while you can see the games on their flat screen TV, it’s not exactly the place for cheering on your favorite sports team. People come here mostly for their cocktail selection. If you are in the mood for a martini, there are at least 16 varieties to choose from, that’s on top of half a dozen mojitos and margaritas and more than 2 dozen draft beer options.
And even if you arrive at Bar Louie after happy hour, you still get happy hour specials from 10PM until closing time.