Don’t be fooled by the name, The Lobby is neither attached to a hotel nor in the lobby of a building. I’m not sure what the story is behind that. What I do know is that it is a slick little bar down in the financial district on Broad St.
The clientèle is late-twenties to late-thirties professional guys and gals looking for a place that’s a little different and isn’t packed after work to standing room only like The Times, J.A. Stats, or Mr. Dooley’s all within a stones throw of The Lobby. Prices for food and drinks aren’t cheap, but they aren’t bank-breaking either. Given the neighborhood the prices are about what you would expect; across the board from apps to booze the prices are maybe a buck or two above their competition.
How could a bar in that area not be a sardine can on a weeknight, you ask? A smart interior layout is the answer.
Across the front are floor to ceiling windows that open onto the street with three or four two-seat tables situated in front of them. Along the right wall is a long cushioned bench seat that stretches back to the bar with a few more tables and chairs in front of it. On the left side is a sitting area with a few low chairs, ottomans, and low tables situated so that it could be a large open social arena or broken into two smaller areas. Across the back wall was the bar which had six, maybe eight, high stools.
The space between the bar and the fireplace sitting area really only allowed enough standing room behind the bar stools to be one person deep. I suppose you could get two deep, but you better be well acquainted with the person you’re squeezed in with to do it. Beyond that small space at the bar there is no standing room. The rest of the open space is simply the path from the bar past the tables to the door. The waitresses and waiters had no problem making it known that people were not to be standing in that path. So even though the night my friends and I were there The Lobby was at capacity it was still an enjoyable experience with plenty of breathing room.
My god, man! What about the beer?
Bottles only and the selection of 10 or so brews wasn’t great, but did have a few gems. (The website beer list is thankfully wrong.) I started with a Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbier Hell which at $9 was the most expensive beer on the menu (it’s also the biggest at 16-oz.). All the others were $6 for 12-oz. I’ve noticed the Julius Echter popping up at more and more places around town and am glad to see it. Don‘t be scared, “hell” is just German for light in reference to the beer’s color because they make a “dunkel” or dark hefe as well. Julius Echter may not be the best hefe out there, but it’s up there and I’m glad to get my hands on it when I can.
Next up was Big Daddy IPA from Speak Easy Ales & Lagers in San Francisco; a brewery I wasn’t familiar with. I’m not a big fan of IPAs, however, I never know when I’ll find the one that will bring me over to the hop side and am always game for something new. Big Daddy had lots of grapefruit hoppiness, but it was still balanced and very drinkable. It didn’t exactly make me a convert, still I recommend it if you like IPAs and want something with more depth than Harpoon.
I can’t clearly recall what other beers they had as I didn‘t take notes, though I’m pretty sure I saw Corona, Stella Artois, and Sam Adams in the fridges behind the bar. I do remember the barkeep saying they had run out of Cisco Brewers’ Sankaty Light which was a drag since I had been wanting to try it.
The Lobby is a pretty cool place. It’s a bit on the spendy side so I couldn’t imagine going here all the time unless I get that promotion at work, but it’s definitely now in my rotation of post work watering holes that aren‘t packed wall-to-wall with Kate Spades and their Blue Shirt Boys. Their beer list didn’t exactly knock my socks off, but I have to give them props for having the few surprises they did. Yes, $6 (or worse $9) bottles suck; unfortunately this is the financial district so get used to it. Foodwise the appetizers my group had were tasty, though I can’t speak to the entrees. I say give The Lobby a shot with a very small group or maybe even an after work date if you are looking for something a little nicer than the norm.