The Little Havana cocktail scene just got a little bit cooler with the opening of Bar Nancy, new craft cocktail den conceptualized, built, owned and operated by a team of local veteran bartenders. This nautical themed bar is quickly becoming a hotspot among industry professionals as well as cocktail enthusiasts.
All hands on deck this Saturday at 5 p.m. as the celebration sets sail with Happy Hour (featuring half-priced cocktails, wine and beer); before advancing with complimentary handcrafted libations from 7pm to 9pm; and moving ahead full sail with live music from popular local bands Spam Allstars, The Woodwork, and Juke, beginning at 9 p.m.
The Miami dive bar-meets-distinguished, New York City craft cocktail lounge, boasts an undeniable nautical theme that will have revelers thinking they’re aboard a ship straight out of the Revolutionary War. Named after a Colonial supply ship involved in the spice trade in the Caribbean, the bar Nancy stays true to her theme, from cocktails, to glassware to decor. The buildout, expertly done by father-and-sons team Tom, Tommi and Ben Koufopulos, of Hand Made by Design Inc, who are also part-owners, was completed in only a couple of months. A 15-seat bar lines the right side of the room with a handcrafted wooden back bar inspired by the stern of a schooner in the movie Master and Commander.
Bottles of fine spirits line shelves hoisted with nautical rope. The side walls are lined with wood and adorned with paintings of ships, as a massive Betsy Ross American flag hangs on the back wall. A large mariners compass adorns the floor, and various nautical elements, such as cannons, rum barrel tables topped with helms and glass, and cleats as purse hooks decorate the room. Exploration is key here, as a hallway donning a marine mural leads to a semi-private VIP “Captain’s Quarters”, featuring comfy furniture, low slung tables and special punch bowls to share. In the back, the ship has come ashore on a Caribbean island, with a finished wooden deck and Tiki bar featuring a menu of Tiki cocktails, not offered inside.
Owned and operated by an eclectic and somewhat motley crew of seasoned bar industry veterans who happen to be incredibly serious about their service and craft, Nancy’s helmsmen include Co-Founders Sasha-Alexandre Torres, who owned the Design District’s beloved but now defuncted The Stage, and Ben Koufopoulos, seasoned bartender and carpenter responsible for build outs at local hotspots such as Purdy Lounge, Burger and Beer Joint, The Stage, and Will Call, among others. When the two embarked on the journey of creating Nancy they decided to tap fellow old salt cocktail craftsmen who have been responsible for revered beverage programs at various bars and restaurants around town, including Co-Founder Derek Stilmann (Broken Shaker, 27, Pubbelly, PawnBroker), as well as David Perez (1930s House at The Thompson, The Local Craft Food & Drink, Bar Alter), Katherine Rajsich (Sugarcane, The Dutch) Jamal Giles (Sugarcane, W, SLS), Lizz Dominguez (MarsBar, Transit Lounge, Vagabond, The Stage), and Anthony Acuna (Pubbelly, Lucali, Alter), and bring them on as part owners/operators. With every employee having a true vested interest, the ship boasts a couple handfuls of captains who remarkably forge an enchanting melding of creativity, harmony and the perfect drop chaos to keep it all exciting. A true labor of love of each employee, everything in this bar comes from the heart of a crew member, from the clever cocktails and hand built décor, to the live music line-up and water glasses hand cut from wine bottles by the barback.
The beverage program, headed by Stilmann and Perez, grew from the spice trade and their meticulous study of colonial America. The result is a well-balanced and insanely creative collection of classic cocktails with a twist for the modern palette. The rum and whiskey heavy menu ($13) dons tongue-in-cheek named mixes that dance to the beat of Nancy’s nautical melody, with standouts including the Gunners Daughter, with bitter notes of tea and black cherry, containing Gunpowder Tea Infused Courvoisier VS, Rittenhouse Rye, Zucca, Cynar, Ruby Port, and The Local Craft Food & Drink’s Miss V’s Homestead Strawberry Bitters; Smile You Son of a Bitch a tart, slightly sweet and very smooth mix of Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, plum reduction, passionfruit, lime and a squeaky shark toy; the delightfully complex Over the Barrel with Great King St Glasgow, Rittenhouse Rye, Brovo No. 4, Pork N Beans Molasses, Aguafabba, basil and Canadian bacon, that has a delightfully subtle rye flavor.
Nancy, located at 2007 SW 8th Street in Little Havana, is open Sunday- Wednesday from 5 p.m. – 2 a.m., and Thursday-Saturday from 5 p.m. – 3 a.m. Ample street parking available.
The Grand Opening Celebration will be held Saturday, April 15, 2017, beginning at 5 p.m.