Nick's Picks: Bar Bantam



Nicholas Abreu

Built with an open floor plan in the lobby level of the newly renovated Metropolitan Tower, Bar Bantam’s aesthetic is a product of the glass walls that surround it.

During the day, with sunshine pouring into the Met’s lobby—which overlooks the concourse and looks up at the second floor—Bantam is a sleek, bright, glossy eatery that buzzes with patrons for breakfast and lunch. This bar and restaurant attracts a crowd of employees from tenants within the building as well as the surrounding business near East Main Street and South Clinton. Bantam serves various coffees, teas, pastries, toasts, egg sandwiches, and healthy sides for breakfast.

For lunch, Bantam boasts decadent sandwiches and bowls, all made with fresh ingredients and intense flavors that you wouldn’t expect from a lunch stop. Some of the highlights from the lunch menu include the Cousin Vinnie—made with soppressata, rapini, provolone, and aioli; and the Disco Bowl—a mix of quinoa, brown rice, pickled jalapeños, onion, tortilla strips, radish, and baja sauce. These ingredients work as a symphony of potent flavors, complementing textures, and bright colors. All Bantam bowls come with the option of adding avocado, pork, chicken, tofu, and/or egg.

By night, with the sun a distant memory and the lights within the Met dimmed to a slight neon glow, Bantam retains its posh look but turns intimate and mellow, making for a unique happy hour destination. With an opulent but limited beer and wine menu, cocktails are the main attraction. There are simple drinks like variations of gin and tonics and manhattans as well as more complicated concoctions like the “Bees for Breakfast”—made with aged rum, dry vermouth, lemon, honey syrup, and absinthe.

For now, Bantam serves an ever-changing menu of three to four appetizers per night. In April, however, it will expand to a full kitchen during cocktail hour, and serve dinner. Seating will also increase in April when tables are added around the bar and outside on the Met’s patio.

Bar Bantam’s full menu and hours can be found at barbantam.com.

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