Vera Pizzeria is one of those places I wish I had known about since day one. To me, it’s the perfect atmosphere to unwind and kick off the weekend. Late on a Friday afternoon, a friend of mine and I headed out to do just that.
We walked down Ashland to Lexington in the Elmwood Village, running into this hidden gem just passed Kuni’s. Even before walking in you’ll fall in love with the location. Right off a side street of Elmwood, Vera is close to everything but removed from the hustle and bustle of the main street.
I was immediately drawn to the black and white television playing an old movie, which is the norm with different old films. We found a spot at the bar, which was filling up quickly on a Friday evening. The bar style is prohibitionist era with the bartenders and servers dressing the part.
Manager Jason informed us that they change the drink menu every season, but keep the favorites on board such as the “Earhart” which is a top seller, and was my first drink of the evening. “The Earhart” consists of vodka, St. Germain, fresh lemon, and strawberry blackberry puree. My happy hour partner was feeling more of a bourbon drink and selected the “Yellow King”, which was delicious (I stole a sip or two).
After settling in with our first drink and absorbing the atmosphere, we decided we couldn’t resist ordering something from the food menu. We found ourselves debating between the Pulled Pork and Fig Jam Pizza, but by this time we knew we would be back again for the pizza that didn’t make the cut. We went with the pulled pork, fig jam would have to wait. We were pleasantly surprised to see corn in addition to the listed ingredients: black beans, chipotle braised pork, jalapeños, BBQ sauce, and cheddar. The pizza was delicious and perfect for two.
Since we came by foot, we decided another specialty drink was in order. This time we both went with the “Yellow King”: bourbon, ginger liqueur, fresh lemon, honey syrup, freshly grated ginger and yellow chartreuse rinse. Not only did it taste good, but the bartender lights a lemon on fire and wipes it around the glass before tossing it into the glass- a high quality drink and entertainment all in one!
Deep in to our second drink and our raving to the bartender about how great everything was, he served us up some shots of Fernet-Branca bourbon – Vera’s liquor of choice and a liquor the bartenders are passionate about. Did I mention we walked? This was one of my first bourbon experiences, and it was certainly a good one, make that amazing actually.
After our shots, the bartender made us “The Emerson” to try, which consists of trader vic’s amaretto, bourbon, fresh lemon, simple syrup, egg whites and lavender bitters. The amaretto stole my heart-SO GOOD. The foam went up over the cup perfectly without spilling over. It was a work of art and a nice end to our happy hour/hours. Don’t be deterred if you’re not a bourbon or cocktail lover, Vera serves up Tecate, PBR, and Murphy’s on tap and like I said earlier, some seriously delicious food.
For more information on their great food check out our review from April.