Let’s get one thing out of the way at the beginning – The Hammer and Quill, a cocktail bar located in South Bend’s East Race neighborhood, should be on your to do list. I recently had the opportunity to stop by there for a couple cocktails and immediately fell in love with the place. With a neighborhood-bar-like feel, nods to its past and employees who are passionate about the craft cocktail scene, the Hammer and Quill is everything a cocktail bar should be – warm and welcoming without the pretentiousness.
Almost the whole entirety of my short stay at Hammer and Quill was spent talking to Jen, Corbin and Mike. Jen was the bartender and Corbin was there helping out his buddy Mike who was one of the owners. Being their only customer at 4:30 in the afternoon, I was able to partake in one of my favorite past times – bellying up to the bar and learning the trade from the people who practice it.
The conversation was enlightening, to say the least. From discussions about what kinds of ice to use and when, rotating cocktail menus, the best Old Fashioned ever, whiskey (of course) and how to make a knock-your-socks off shrub, it was clear that the people behind Hammer and Quill were passionate about the craft cocktail scene. And it showed in their drinks. The Monte Cristo, a mezcal-based cocktail that brought a bit of fire to the palate and the Valkyrie, essentially a tequila sour with a mezcal mist to finish it off, both were impressive. Their craft cocktail menu is decent-sized enough – on my visit, there were ten listed. Some places have a lot more, some have less. What I can guarantee you, though, is that if there’s a cocktail on their menu, it’s been put through the paces by the staff and deserves a spot on the list.
If you’ve thought about checking out Hammer and Quill, make it a priority to give them a try. You’ll walk away happy that you did. And then you can send me a message thanking me for making your life a whole lot better. You’re welcome.