Much consideration went into designing the bar, particularly the counter, which was made from handsome pecan wood. The bar area is meant to pay homage to Spain’s view of it as a primary fixture. “It is the first thing you see when you walk into most restaurants,” explains Jerez. “In a restaurant the idea is that you have wine or beer and then you work your way to the dining room. And then on the way out, you to do the same.”
Similarly, the bar at Barlata is a lively focal point, one that encourages patrons to dine at the counter, or to wander over for a drink before and after their meals. The bar will soon be expanding its pinchos offerings and have a tv for screening futbol (soccer) games.
Barlata features exclusively Spanish wines. Olivella, who won awards for his B44 wine selections, created an affordable wine list that represents each of Spain’s regions. There is an assortment of Sherry – Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado — from Jerez de la Frontera in southwest Spain. Barlata offers six types of cava, Spanish sparkling wine, which is produced in the Penedes area of Catalonia, in the north. There is wine from Ribera del Duero, Madrid, Bilbao, and Galicia, among others. Oviella, who returns to Spain at least one a year, seeks out wines unavailable in stores and other restaurants. Because there are small vineyards throughout Spain, he often purchases wine from family wineries that make only two- or three-hundred bottles a year.
Vermouth (“vermut” in Spanish) may appear on the drink menu more than in most restaurants. However, in Spain, it is a traditional apértif, flavored with various botanicals: barks, flowers, herbs, spices. “It goes well with nuts, anchovies, and anything that’s pickled,” says Jerez. The sweet compliments the salty. Vermouth can be drunk by itself, garnished with olives or an orange (like a martini) or enhanced with carbonated water from a siphon, a classic symbol of Spanish bars.
Barlata also offers Spanish and domestic beer, sangria, as well traditional, classic and a few signature cocktails.