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Food and Drink Features

Drinking al fresco

With warmer weather comes opportunities to enjoy libations on rooftops and in the great outdoors.

Greg Horton April 9th, 2014

One of the first signs of spring every year is the increase in drinkers and diners spending beautiful afternoons and evenings on metro restaurant patios. As the number of restaurants in the metro continues to grow, so do the number of patio options, but very few provide spectacular views of the city while you enjoy your spring cocktails. Here are three hot spots worth visiting for more than just food and drinks.

Drinks at O Bar
Photo by Mark Hancock

O Bar at Ambassador Hotel Midtown, 1200 N. Walker Ave., now has what is perhaps the very best rooftop view of downtown. O Bar is on the seventh floor of the Ambassador, and it has access to a rooftop on the west side of the building that features an amazing view south toward downtown, as well as north and west.

The Ambassador opened in late March, and already, the bar is seeing a brisk business. O Bar’s manager, Jeff Cole, said the spring cocktail list is finalized and features original cocktails from bartender Donny Sizemore and

Cole himself. Sizemore’s cocktail, the Endless Summer, is a blend of Pisco Brandy, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, caramelized pineapple, lemon and Creole bitters. Cole said Sizemore was shooting for an “aristocratic Pisco Sour, something that would give guests a mental vacation with each sip.”

Strong Tonic, one of Oklahoma’s newest beverage companies, inspired Cole’s creation, the Tiki Tonic. Cole said Strong Tonic’s owner and founder

Glenn Forester was the first customer at O Bar, so Cole wanted to feature Forester’s locally made hibiscus tonic in the Tiki Tonic.

Forester asked for a specific flavor profile, so Cole combined four-year slow-aged white Nicaraguan rum, overproof Jamaican rum, blended Jamaican rum, Hibiscus Strong Tonic, pineapple drinking vinegar, lemon juice and a splash of soda. It’s a complex, fruity, aromatic cocktail that sold briskly thanks to word of mouth.

Packard’s New American Kitchen, 201 NW 10th St., officially opened its rooftop bar on March 29. The view from Packard’s is straight south, so the Devon tower is dead center. Bar manager Nick Schaeffer said the spring cocktail menu is still being tweaked, but it definitely includes the Strong Arm, another cocktail featuring Hibiscus Strong Tonic.

Schaeffer combined the hibiscus tonic with Earl Grey tea-infused London dry gin and a squeeze of lime. The cocktail is dry and refreshing, with the hibiscus and lime adding wonderful aromatics. The bar can be accessed through the restaurant or directly by using the stairs just west of Packard’s main entrance.

Flint, 15 N. Robinson Ave., at the Colcord Hotel has a patio that provides a much different view. The large, comfortable patio sits at the base of the Devon tower, so the perspective is remarkable from the tables and benches. The tower’s proximity also manages to block the evening sun in the summer, making for a shady retreat downtown.

The spring menu isn’t complete at Flint, either, but will feature a menu designed just for the patio, including food, wine and cocktails. Look for fruity twists on traditional spring and summer drinks, including the Patio Punch, Flint’s very own take on the famous hurricane.

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