Foraging for Fantastic Details

by Moth Moth Moth | above photo by Jamie Harmon

COVID-19 and her many daughters have sucked the fun out of just about everything in the past two years. Whatever was hard before is now harder, including having a drink with your friends. Heck, leaving the house at all can be tough sometimes.

I’m an entertainer, but also an exhausted recluse. Most often if you want me to come out and have fun, you need to pay me to do so. But not at Art Bar, nestled into the depths of Crosstown Arts, which has been creating a nest of conversation, atmosphere, and good service since opening.

In the thrash of the pandemic, the bar remained closed longer than many other bars and venues despite the cult popularity. With all the apocalyptic mess in the world, they wanted to leave the fields fallow for just a little bit to give everyone and everything the opportunity to equalize. In that time frame, we have seen many establishments shutter their doors, most heartbreakingly so. Thankfully, Art Bar is ready for a new day.

Post vaccines and with Tennessee lifting the mask mandate, Art Bar has recently reopened to great success. But please, know that with the new variants, masks are suggested for everyone again. But that can’t and won’t stop Art Bar. Back with a vengeance and going nowhere soon.

Part of the charm of Art Bar is the speakeasy feeling you get. One moment you are in a gallery looking at a projection mapping of flowers onto a bowl of fruit or wandering through sculptures — and the next you are in the arms of a friend in an intimate bar. Sporting framed cat puzzles, and that certain shade of vintage green furniture that says, “There’s weed dust in these cushions,” Art Bar feels like the cool minimalist baby of say… Antique Warehouse Mall. Plus drinks. With snacks and drinks to slurp and crunch between conversations it is the cradle of many great ideas and experiences.

Art Bar crew. Photo courtesy of Dee Mitchell.

That intention doesn’t stop with the space. We talked with manager Dee Mitchell about working for Art Bar, and more specifically, about the artistic process behind the drinks themselves. From cocktails to mocktails, to sprite and kombucha on tap, they’re doing their best to serve a little bit of everyone’s sensibilities while keeping it cool and naturally-sourced as often as possible. One moment of pure curiosity struck when Dee began to detail the variety of herbs, mushrooms, and other plants he forages for drink ingredients. He also really lit up when speaking about his work, it was very charming. There is a focus not only on unique flavors for their cocktails and mocktails but also on the medicinal nature of some of the ingredients. The minimal chill aesthetic of the bar combined with the intention of keeping close to the earth is a one-of-a-kind mutation.

Upon hearing about the processes behind the flare, I couldn’t help but feel cool and witchy by association. As of now, many people’s taste has been influenced by modern witchcraft and spiritualism. The Tumblr witches all grew up to work in museums and libraries and come here to drink.

I digress.

Here is the true truth of the matter. Art Bar is for you and anyone you want to have a beautiful night with, chatting on a couch in the corner surrounded by ceramic dogs and a glass full of truly fantastic details.