By Matt Starlight
Delightfully quiet on a Sunday afternoon, Radio Bar has a hip, rustic charm that’s pretty rare around the LSU area. Yes, Tigerland bars have a beat-up quality to them too, but not on purpose. It’s usually a result of rambunctious freshman attempting bravado on girls they aren’t taking home anyway. So when you let Radio Bar grace you with its presence, ask the charming, friendly bartender for her summer recommendation: the Mid City Salty Dog.
The entrance is understated, almost hidden. Tall, wooden fences shield patrons from the troubles of the outside world and enclose greenery, tall chairs, a dart board, and a ping pong table that together compose the pleasant patio that greets your entrance.
Once indoors, you’ll find Radio Bar has an industrial, warehouse style that’s comfortable and intriguing at the same time. The liquor is kept on large shelves behind the bar that pay tribute to the antique jukebox, evoking the same smooth, architectural curves and ornate style you’d find gracing your hip grandparents’ favorite watering hole. The walls are deep navy, maroon, and the exposed brick quietly bear the bar’s perfectly weathered, retro-inspired insignia. Massive garage door windows welcome a flood of sunlight in to charm the space and the warm, chestnut wood of the bar top and shelves gracefully complement the more minimalistic, autumn-colored surrounding.
The ceiling is high. Black pipes criss cross overhead and bear the weight of the antique Edison bulbs that suspend low over the bar, illuminating your drink with a golden, mellow hue. Of the cocktails available to ease you into Radio Bar’s modern, rustic aura, none are more perfect than the Mid City Salty Dog.
The delicate cocktail is made of cucumber infused vodka, yellow chartreuse, agave, and grapefruit juice, all over ice in a chilled highball glass with a lightly salted rim. Cocktails that fuse more common citrus flavors like lime or orange are a dime a dozen, but Radio Bar delicately blends light, airy cucumber with a sweet, honey undertone on a base of smooth vodka and grapefruit for a swirling mixture of sweet and salty flavor. The fruit tastes (because it is) real, easily distinguishing itself from factory made syrups and flavoring for an authentic taste of summer that flows smoothly over your tongue. It’s definitely a tribute to the classic Salty Dog, but enchanting your liver with vodka rather than gin is nice change of pace.
Summer is a great time to try something new in Baton Rouge. The crowds are down, the weather heats up, and getting out is easier than ever. Radio Bar prides itself on being a
neighborhood pub where everyone knows each other’s name, so make yourself part of the tribe by taking regular trips your new favorite bar and order the Mid City Salty Dog.