Atlas Bar opened up in SoMa (South Main) earlier this year and quickly became a go-to spot for neighborhood folks like myself to stop in for a well-crafted drink. Now, after spending some time becoming familiar with their audience they are ready to roll out a whole new set of food and drink menus.
The big overhaul comes with the food menu. They are going back to the original focus on small bites and sharable to make this a bar forward concept with good food to eat while you drink.
“We want to create a spot where you can sit down, have a drink, and grab an easy snack while you are visiting with friends,” owner Tony Poe tells us. “To get there we focused back on the original concept of small plates and lowered prices all around.”
Indeed with the new menu you no longer have to look at a meal, everything is snackable and easily shared. If you want to go bigger it is easier to mix and match a couple of plates to make a great meal. Plus all of the food items can stand up on their own in terms of quality even in a food-focused area like SoMa.
One of the ones that stood out was the Main Street Bahn Mi. It is marinated tofu, carrot, cucumber, jalapeno, and garlic aioli on a baguette. It is the perfect amount of spicy and savory for a bar bite.
Since October is Cornbread Festival month in SoMa, the Mexican Corn Salad is a good one to get started. This elote salad adds the traditional corn, aioli, and cojita cheese that you expect, then adds a spash of grapefruit for the citrus that adds a different flavor than most other versions.
Also new is their fry lineup. They have four different fry options that include jalapeno, kimchi, and pickle “dustings” on each, or you can go with white truffle oil and parmesan. The toppings can be added individually, or you can go with the secret menu item and just order a fry flight and get them all.
Other food of note includes chicken wings with four different sauce options, traditional arancini in marinara, and a refresh on their fried rice option (Nasi Goreng). Many of the favorites such as the hummus, labneh, and focaccia options are still on the updated menu.
On the drink side, Atlas is keeping the best of their cocktails while doubling down on classics and introducing a few new gems. One of the things I love to see is a traditional absinthe drink called the Green Fairy. This is served properly with melting sugar cubes and a dropper of water to control the flame so that you can adjust your concentration.Also new in is a section Old Fashions with different rifts on the classic. Atlas has become a bartender-friendly bar, so it is great to see the Industry Old Fashion on the list here. This starts with rectified whiskey, then adds Fernet Branca and Cocci Di Torino. Another great one on the menu is the Conference. It starts with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and Cognac then brings in mole chocolate bitters for an interesting profile.
All of the Old Fashions can be served smoked. Atlas does an interesting preparation here by smoking inside a paper sack so the smoke has a chance to infuse well, then serves it within the sack so the aromatics of the smoke comes out even stronger when it arrives.
They also did a big overhaul of their wine lineup. It pairs down the quantity of wines and focuses instead on a concentration of quality. It allows them to serve more by the glass and at better price points while ensuring every bottle on the shelf is a good selection.