Side Bar offers an option with style

Chris Knutson, manager for the Manette Side Bar, serves premium martinis and wine selections to patrons at the new Manette Side Bar.   - Photo by James Mange
Chris Knutson, manager for the Manette Side Bar, serves premium martinis and wine selections to patrons at the new Manette Side Bar.
— image credit: Photo by James Mange

If you’re looking for a night spot with upscale ambiance, cosmopolitan selections and affordable prices, The Manette Side Bar is definitely worth a visit. The wine and martini bar located next door to the Manette Saloon, opened in early April, and the alternative it offers has proven popular.

“Business has been pretty steady right from the start,” said manager Chris Knutson. “I was kind of expecting it would take awhile for people to find out about us, but we’ve been pretty much equalling business on the saloon side, which is great for a new spot.”

That success reflects the wisdom of the plan of owners Kimm Heydel-Anderson and Rebecca Dove. “They wanted to create a different option for people,” Knutson said. “It’s a place to take a date and have a glass of wine and a good conversation without having to battle loud music or pay a cover charge.”

The interior has been refurbished to reflect the new style, walled off from the saloon, the Side Bar features a wooden J-shaped bar and several private tables on the floor and along a room-length bench. Red hanging lights and red and gray walls give a warm, calming feel.

The wine selections were picked with the assistance of Kelli Rizzo, the owner of the Manette Wine Shop, and she also helped create the wine pairings for the food items on the menu. “We have a wide enough variety to please everyone,” Knutson said. “If you just want a merlot, we’ve got it. We didn’t want to intimidate people with only fancy vintages they wouldn’t know anything about. We want to work people into trying new things.”

The Side Bar also features a list of a dozen premium martinis. The Silver Pom, The Sapphire Apple and the Mojito Martini are just some of the favorites, but you can also order up a 007 or a CEO martini.

Full dinner selections are available, but the small plates offer great variety, from diablo sauteed prawns, to “sexy fries,” to tofu with spicy peanut sauce. “We’ve tried to be a little different in everything,” Knutson said. “Not obscure, but different.”

A rotating selection of premium beers is available, but it’s not a problem to get a domestic draft brought over from the saloon. The liquors are upscale as well, but the prices are still in the same ballpark as anything on the saloon side. The menu and the wine selections will vary occasionally to stay seasonal.

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