Hyde Park Hot Spot 

Unimaginatively yet aptly christened after its former and arguably more practical (though far less entertaining) function as a garage, Hyde Park's lone bar-only bar has become as well loved in its first year as its building-mate Lucky 13. When warmer weather settles into the valley to stay, patio lounge lizards aplenty collect in front of the thrown open garage doors, sunning themselves with cocktails in hand. Those double garage doors have been shut tight since last summer ended, harboring a smaller crowd in the Garage's smoke-free, no-frills, garage-themed interior.

On last week's only rainless afternoon, a single-beer flyby allowed us to briefly confirm that Guinness on tap is far inferior to its transatlantic incarnation. However, it wasn't until the weekend when the official reviewing began, and holy jeebus, did we put our tender to the test.

We were a group of six, each with a different cocktail and shots to boot. We ran the gamut of liquor from vodka to rum to whiskey to tequila to gin. We mixed in Red Bull, Coke, tonic and pineapple juice. We had straight shots. We had kamikazes. It was pure revelry.

And Garth, the slightly larger half of those infamous twin bartenders, met each of our nitpicky demands without effort. The only bartender in a full house, Garth not only remembered each of our six different cocktails, but never kept us waiting and managed to clear copious amounts of empty glasses. Silencing the room with a shout to kick out a smoker, the Garage was clearly Garth's territory.

We say wait for the patio to open ... that way there's more room for us.

The Garage, 1602 N. 13th St., 344-6967.

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