After a recent renovation that took a little longer than expected, Warsaw’s Downtown Eatery & Spirits, known to most as just “The Downtown” or “Downtown,” finally reopened its doors on March 26th. Featuring a cleaner and more upscale modern look, the new layout is dominated by the main bar. Located in roughly the same area as the old bar, the new bar features seating for about 15 patrons. With an impressive suspended back bar housing many of the bars liquors and stainless steel bedecked tap section, this area is meant to serve notice that the Downtown is back.
Much like the old layout, seating is scattered along the outer walls that surround the main bar. Some of the character from the old version remains reflected in the exposed brick on the front and west walls, albeit with a different color tone. Gone are the dart board areas and their immovable brick barriers. Gone also are the old bathrooms and whatever else that dark rear entrance was used for. In its place are all new bathrooms including a unisex option.
The kitchen received a makeover as well. Now covered from floor to ceiling in stainless steel, the area where your food is meticulously prepared is not only safer but easier to clean.
Speaking of the kitchen (segue game is on point), the food and drinks menu has a new look as well. Downtown’s lack of craft cocktails always irked me a bit, mostly because I knew they had the talent in place to come up with some good ones and it was what all the cool places were doing. In fact, they have a whole separate book/menu dedicated just to what liquids you can pour into your mouth. If you enjoy rum cocktails as much as I do, get the Mystery 7. A delightful blend of flavored rums, orange, pineapple and cranberry juice, it’s the closest thing the Downtown has to a proper tiki cocktail. It’s really good – so good, in fact, that I can’t imagine myself ordering anything else.
In a shock to my system, specifically my stomach, the Chicken Cordon Bleu didn’t make the cut for the food portion of the new menu (a moment of silence, please). In its place, however, is my new favorite Downtown sub – The Outlaw. Held together by the Downtown’s ubiquitous aluminum foil and French rolls, The Outlaw comes loaded with shaved ham, salami, pepperoni, green and black olives, giardiniera, pepperoncinis and mozzarella cheese. Pair it with onion rings and a Myster 7 or two and you have my new favorite pub grub of a meal.
The chief complaint I hear the most is that the new look Downtown has lost some of its character. True, it’s hard to replace classic brick walls, black and white tile flooring and glossy orange brick accoutrements but the thing that gave the Downtown its true character over the 25 plus years hasn’t changed and that’s the people who work there and the people you meet there. That hasn’t changed and judging by the tremendous amount of people now pouring through its shiny new entrances, the vast majority of people like the new look just the way it is. I, for one, agree.