Everyone I know has been encouraging me to visit Scofflaw since it opened a few weeks ago. Knowing how much I enjoy a finely-made cocktail, (and the fact there are some well-schooled bar men here, hailing from such locally respected watering holes as The Whistler) I knew it was going to be worthwhile. Located at the corner of Armitage and Kedzie, in what could only be described as West Logan Square/North Humboldt Park, I was by far the oldest gent in the room. Their mantra is “gin-focused cocktails” but there were plenty of other spirits on hand, including my favorite: rum. Fortunately, they just started messing around with some swizzles, which have their roots in tiki culture. I love the pebbled/crushed ice in these drinks, as well as their fun colors, and as long as you don’t take too long to sip them over the course of an evening (thus watering down the drink) I think even borderline rum fans will enjoy their tropical notes much as I do.
Smith & Cross Jamaican rum seems to be the spirit du jour here, and in their Scofflaw Swizzle, they combine it with El Dorado 3 year white demerara rum, along with house-made orgeat (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water), fresh pineapple, lime and Angostura bitters. I could see myself easily polishing off two rounds of this swizzle, but I opted for just one (I was driving last night).
There is also a small, compact menu here. We loved the crispy fries with pimenton aioli and a crunchy trio of salads; a fine starter of creamy-smooth chicken liver mousse lived up to its billing, but unfortunately, the accompanying toasts were as hard as the chrome on my front bumper. We liked the inside of the brisket sandwich (almost more of a ropa vieja) with melted gruyére, but the Texas toast-width bread was soaked in way too much butter (when you put the sandwich down and have greasy residue on all of your fingers, it’s not a good sign). But service was awfully chipper and fast, and those drinks, well, I know what I’m getting next time I head back there; perhaps as soon as this weekend.