The Snug is still arranging itself in the former Mehfil Indian restaurant space on Fillmore at Clay, but partners and service industry veterans Zack Schwab, Shane Matthews, Brian Shin, and Jacob Racusin look to have settled on a November opening for their bar. And, in the meantime, they’ve hashed out some important details regarding food and drink:
For one thing, the crew has scored two exclusive barrels of bourbon, one that they blended themselves, and another that’s 11-years-old (which is getting up there in barrel years). Meanwhile, Racusin, formerly the Alembic’s bar manager, is outlining his hands-on approach throughout. He says he’ll mix all the Snug’s cocktails with at least one ingredient made in-house. Think Whiskey sours with Chinese preserved plum and Manhattans with shiitake-infused Japanese whiskey.
Food will come from Brian Shin, previously of In Situ and Benu and, before that, Alinea in Chicago and Corton in New York. Fine-dining experience aside, Shin says he gravitates toward more lowbrow food on his days off. “[Fine dining] can be so decadent,” he says, exhausting his palate. His food at the Snug won’t be too stuffy or serious, just enjoyable, he hopes. Most recently, the chef was helping cook at Dad’s Luncheonette, a roadside diner from former Saison chef Scott Clark which was that cook’s own low-key refuge from high-end dining.
Shin’s first major decision at the Snug was to keep the former tenant’s tandoor oven. “The rage right now is open fire and all that, but the tandoor oven is a pretty rustic and amazing piece of equipment,” says Shin. “I wanted to learn how to use it, and it was in great condition, so I kept it.”
In addition to bar bites like Korean fried chicken wings and house-made (never-canned) spam musubi, diners can expect tandoor-cooked flatbreads, like one with everything seasoning and shiitake hummus, and even whole tandoor-roasted fish — when Shin gets a handle on how to use the thing.
“I’d like to use it as much as i can,” he says, “but there’s a bit of a learning curve”
Schwab and Matthews, who bring experience from the Monk’s Kettle and Mikkeller bar as well as The Jeffrey in New York City, are in charge of the Snug’s 20 taps of beer. Britt Hull of Tide Design Co. has been heading up design, both graphic and interior. She’s taken cues from the Snug’s name, which describes the private booth area of traditional pubs, to create a cozy atmosphere.
Stay tuned for menus and more as the team finishes construction.