Small space, big comfort
Sometimes you can learn everything you need to know about a bar or restaurant's priorities by the size of its bathroom. If you can't reasonably reenact the trash compactor scene from "Star Wars" inside, reaching out to touch either side as if the walls were caving in, then its feng shui priorities are out of whack. Consider a
No such problem at the Metropolis Café (584 Tremont St., Boston. 617-247-2931), a delightfully warm restaurant and bar whose grandiose name belies its Lilliputian layout and cozy water closet. Stepping inside on a recent frigid night and passing through the heavy drapes around the door was like crawling back into the womb, a womb that serves beer, that is.
A zinc bar with exposed rivets and gentle waves of metal presents itself immediately. Dark wooden banquets and intimate two-top tables covered in crisp white paper line the walls. The 10 swiveling, diner-style stools at the bar provide an interesting juxtaposition to the fine-dining atmosphere. From that vantage point the entirety of the room can be observed - either wall a mere crouton's throw from the other - as can the activity on the street outside. This would be a great spot to sip a glass of wine while people-watching through the large windows, particularly during Metropolis's popular brunches. The restaurant only serves wine and beer, but bartenders get creative with fruit-heavy variations on the mimosa ($7.95).Wines can be broken down into two categories: drinking wines and eating wines. Metropolis' Chilean Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah ($11.95, $47), dry for a rosé but with plenty of berry, exemplifies the former. The same binary applies to bars as well, and Metropolis is a decidedly food-forward one. Choices like gnocchi with duck confit, Vermont Brussels sprouts, rosemary jus, and Parmeggiano Reggiano ($8.95) may be smallish, but, like Metropolis itself, the emphasis is on quality, not quantity.
Originally published in the Boston Globe.