Easily missed on Division Street, the oh-so-cool, yet completely welcoming, The Patterson House is a place to gather with friends. A lingering conversation is encouraged through ambiance over some of the best, and hands down most inventive, cocktails around.
Elizabeth and I grabbed our husbands and photographer Wiff Harmer (she took all the pictures on our post today) to hit The Patterson House last week. One of the owners, Max Goldberg, was kind enough to spend an hour talking with us for StyleBlueprint. As they have recently been mentioned in GQ, The New York Times and Spirit Magazine by Southwest Airlines, this was way too kind of him to do.
This is the type of place that you find out about through word or mouth — and even then you might go looking for it and never, ever find it. That never finding part had happened to both myself and Elizabeth in the past. But, once you find it, you do feel instantly part of ‘the club’ of fortunates. While we thought we’d include a picture of the front of the building, we instead decided that the hunt is part of the fun. Even The Patterson House website is decidedly coy about who and what they are. However, we will provide clues: the obvious is the address — 1711 Division Street, and the not so obvious clue — look for the word Fringe. Once you walk up to the correct door, you will see some small letters reading “The Patterson House” across the glass and you will know that you have arrived.
Brothers and business partners Max and Benjamin Goldberg own The Patterson House (with partners Tobey Maloney and Jason Cott) along with Paradise Park Trailer Resort, a beer and burger joint on lower Broadway and Ariel, a private event location. To find out more about the background on how The Patterson House came about, this article from the City Paper spells it out: City Paper article on The Patterson House.
Max explained to us that there is a science to a great cocktail. The pictures below show one cocktail containing a vertical piece of ice and the other has a perfectly spherical one. Why? The ice melts far more slowly this way and thus your drink is truer to its flavors (less water dilutes your drink). They have eight types of twice-filtered ice. As they are known to say, “Ice to our bartenders is like a gas stove to a chef.” And the bitters… They started with 36 formulas, all kept in dropper bottles, and now have over 50. According to Max, bitters are the salt and pepper of the cocktail world. All I know is that I left imagining a small home renovation to accommodate a bar area where I could devote the attention of a chemist for all my future cocktails that will be served at The Graves House (ok, that’s my last name for those who would have been googling The Graves House).
The food here is just as good as the drinks. The olives here were served very warm which was a first for me. I fell in love with the meaty texture of a warm olive on this night. Yum. The Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread pictured below was heavenly. All the food on the seasonal menu is made to share. That presentation fits the philosophy here: come to share with conversation and food while lingering over a drink. General Manager Josh Habiger’s culinary background shines with a menu that takes the concept of finger foods to a new level.
The Patterson House is proud of its “no celebrity” here rule. This means: don’t name drop and everyone is treated equally. Celeb sightings do happen here as I have friends who whisper seeing someone or other sitting across the way. (That’s how we do things in Nashville– we whisper our sightings. Tacky to scream (aka tweet) those sightings) If you are one of the few and the famous, you come here to enjoy being away from the spotlight. However, if the place is full, you need to wait in line just like everyone else. This attitude appeals to the populist voice that lives a bit in all of us. With just 89 seats, and an extra 20 on the patio, it’s common to wait for a seat. Avoid that wait by visiting mid-week or coming early.
This is not a bar where you come to stand and literally bump into folks. This is a sipping sitting bar that appeals to all ages. And, you can’t help but feel the pull for time to slow while within. Sip and sit a bit longer. Have some water between rounds (you don’t have to ask, it just appears.) Life’s a little sweeter when enjoyed and savored and that is fully instilled while here.
I could fully explain the cocktail menu, but once again, I won’t. I think that’s part of the fun of going: the education you receive. I will tell you that each individual drink is taste tested (through a pinch from a clean straw) by the bartender who makes it. They want to ensure you are getting the best. They are the chefs of the cocktail world with 120 hours of training and 60 additional hours of homework. Come taste what a difference that training makes.
It all just feels very adult, sophisticated and timeless… while not at all stuffy. That type of accomplishment is hard to conquer. Watch out for the Goldberg brothers. They have a vision and I think we all want to enjoy where these visions continue to take them. Grab a few friends and head to The Patterson House. You’ll be glad you did.
Pictures for this post were taken by the amazing Wiff Harmer. Her website is www.wiffharmer.com.