If you’re looking for a bar to lean on and slug of shot of bourbon, then you’ve come to the right place. The trick at Shady Pines is finding it – the entrance is a non-descript ally door with no signage – but once you’re in, it’s like stepping through a portal to a dimly lit frontier dive, complete with long wooden bar to line up your shots.
The bartenders here really know their stuff, and they’re so confidant that you barely have to utter your order and a cocktail appears at your elbow. Could be an ice-mountain slushy of mint julep for a hot afternoon, or an old pal (whisky, sweet vermouth and campari) poured from a cloudy crystal jug. Straight spirits rate high on the list too, so you might find yourself with a nip of Eagle Rare bourbon to compliment the mood; it goes well with the décor. Taxidermy is the dominant style with deer, buffalo and a long-horn steer heads gracing the walls, there’s a cactus here and there too, an old piano and cowhide rugs.
It’s a tightly knit Western vision courtesy of owners Anton Forte (ex-Lotus) and Jason Scott (ex- Victoria Room), and staff can help you out with any animal head you can’t name.
There’s no food on offer, just endless bowls of peanuts (though you can order in from other local eateries). But this place isn’t about anything other than being a great watering hole, so why make it any more complicated than that.