One of the perks of being a freelancer is making your own schedule – which is also one of the downsides for those who can’t manage their time. I won’t say which one it is for me In any case, one Wednesday afternoon, feeling antsy, I tagged TC and we headed into the city for a beer. Since I had dinner plans around the corner later, we hit up Live Bait – which is one of my favorite bars in the city. By which I mean, I’ve been to Live Bait a notable number of times for a person who doesn’t often go to bars, nor do I return to the same ones much… I really like this place because it reminds me so strongly of the bar where I used to be the bartender, sniffs (my bar closed down a while ago), but the casual atmosphere, the low prices, and convenient location all make me very happy.
I started off with the Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer, which I actually liked as it was pretty balanced. I’d tried a different fest beer the week before and found it too bitter, but this one was just right, very drinkable.
We arrived at the right time to enjoy the happy hour, which only lasts until 6:30, but we decided to take advantage of the $5 food specials. First up: chili cheese fries. The portion isn’t huge, but that was fine, $5 gets you a small plate of fries doused in chili and liquid cheese. The chili was negligible and lumped all in the middle, but the liquid cheese had a slight spice to it – tasted like nacho cheese, honestly. I don’t mean it was spicy, but it wasn’t just plain melted cheese, which was nice. I’d definitely order this with friends again.
$5 fried cajun calamari was sized similarly, but that cajun seasoning we were promised was missing. These could have used that, and a little sprinkle of salt as well, because the breading – which was soft and falling off – had no seasoning of which to speak. I had a few pieces but gave up pretty quickly as the soft breading was sodden with oil and just made me feel icky.
While I’m wary of raw seafood at a lot of places, I could see the guy shucking these right behind me, and $5 for half a dozen oysters was hard to pass up. Unfortunately, two of my three were incredibly bland and flavorless – I don’t even really know why this happens – while the third was briny, delicious, and reminded me why I love raw oysters. Maybe it’s me; I generally dress my oysters with just a squirt of lemon juice (or cider vinegar and shallots if it’s provided!) and slurp away, so I expect a lot of flavor to come from the oyster itself. I wound up using a little cocktail sauce, a little horseradish to zazz these up, though that third one did not need any of that, and in fact burst forth with its flavor. Even so, without a guarantee of deliciousness, $5 a half dozen raw oysters is a really good deal, and I wouldn’t say no to ordering these again.
At the last minute, I noticed fried pickles on the menu (though not a happy hour special). TC insisted on ordering them after I mentioned it – probably because he knows I LOVE fried pickles – so $5.95 got us the above basket. Properly fried, piping hot, with breading that didn’t fall off, these were slightly greasy but quite tasty. The cajun seasoning that was meant for our calamari apparently ended up on the fried pickles, which gave them a nice zing… but made them different from what I expected. I enjoyed these, though I couldn’t eat too much because I still had dinner plans and because they were pretty greasy (greasy food tends to sit like rocks in my stomach, so I try not to eat a lot of fried food in one sitting, but if you read my blog, you know I fall into this trap constantly!). I would not complain if someone else wanted to order them again, but I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to do so.
Yvo says: I really enjoy Live Bait for its laidback atmosphere, casual feel, love to sit at the bar, and while it gets pretty crowded with CSFB bankers for some reason, the d-bag level is low enough to ignore easily. The happy hour specials are legit… decent selection of beer… though I wish the happy hour lasted just a little longer! and one of these days, I’m going to have to actually order real food and see how that is. Oh, and they have frozen drinks – a slushy machine that churns out slightly overly sweet goofy drinks for hot days or whatever, if you feel like drinking something fruity and frozen, why not? I like that sometimes…
great bar for a drink or two, happy hour, etc. – I’ll continue going here