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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Private Cocktails at the Wilson: Ridiculous or Great?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM

The Wilson: Not quite a detective agency. Or a secret. - KIMBERLY SANDIE
  • Kimberly Sandie
  • The Wilson: Not quite a detective agency. Or a secret.

At the end of my last visit to the Wilson -- the subject of this week's full review -- my friend and I were about to exit when someone pounded on the bar's front door. Except it's not the door you enter. To get to the Wilson, you have to wait in line outside Bourbon & Branch, then present the password to the staff, who will you through the main bar to B&B's new side venture. So my friend and I froze, two feet away from the pounding. The two-cocktails-in woman sitting at the corner of the bar, who'd been telling the bartender she'd just texted an invitation to two of her friends, glared at us. In turn, we looked around to see what we should do, feeling like sheep waiting for the guard dog to nip at our heels. "Open the door!" she ordered, then walked past us and shoved it open herself, muttering, "Oh, right, this place is sooooo exclusive."

But is exclusivity really what the Wilson is doing? Kind of, I suppose,

but what I liked about the place was that the reservations and entry ritual keep the bar intimate. It's designed for

conversation -- between me and my friends, between me and the

bartenders. With its dozens of housemade tinctures and potions and its

"three-course" cocktail service, the Wilson is practically a restaurant,

except that if you go for a full meal you may hate yourself the next

morning (trust me on this one) and they kick you out when your time is

up. The rules may not be for everyone -- including, I suspect, the woman

who scolded us. 

Oh, and the place is gorgeous -- check out Kimberly Sandie's slideshow.

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