Rogue 24 opened back in 2011, before Blagden Alley become so trendy, before every chef announced they would be opening up a restaurant in Shaw, before the laundromat across the street from my building was on the verge of collapse. For the first few years after it opened, despite its great reviews and incredibly close proximity to my apartment (it is literally a block away), I did not even think about trying it. I’m not quite sure it was not even on my radar. Perhaps it was because the owner/chef, RJ Cooper, does not have the most positive reputation. Perhaps because they were actually making people sign contracts before eating a meal there at first. Then last spring, my (real) roommate took me there for my birthday after realizing I still had never been. It was awesome! We sat in the SpiritsBar, the four seat bar in the far end of the dining room, where the wonderfully talented (and good looking) “chef-tender” Bryan Tetorakis prepared us some small plates from the bar menu and a few drinks. One of those drinks was a Boulavardier, which is a Negroni with bourbon. This drink basically changed my life. It honestly was the best drink I have ever had (which is probably not a hard title to come by since I spent college drinking rail vodka out of plastic bottles). My first experience at Rogue 24 there was so wonderful that I made it my go-to neighborhood spot with my then-boyfriend. It is the perfect place to pop-in for a great cocktail (probably a boulavardier) before a night out, and also the best place to end an early night (also probably with a boulavardier). It got to the point where Bryan eventually refused to make me boulavardiers anymore, telling me that he worked too hard on the cocktail menu for me to be such a one-note drinker. Of course, every drink I have ordered from him since then has been spectacular as well.
Recently, Bryan announced that he would be moving to San Diego in mid-May, so my roommate decided we had to go back for one last round of Boulavardiers. On the day of our roomie date, I could feel myself coming down with a cold, but told myself that alcohol probably just kills the germs causing my sore throat, right? The bar was booked up for the evening, so we sat in the front lounge area where the couches are incredibly comfortable, and I find myself accidentally molesting these giant white fluffy pillows. We both got boulavardiers to start, and they were just as good as the first time Bryan made me one. The drink is just so simple and delicious, slightly woodsy, a little syrupy, perfect for slow sipping. My second drink was slightly more tropical: bourbon, coconut and ginger beer. I sipped on this until I realized my blinks were getting longer and longer, and I was sinking deeper and deeper into the couch. I told my roommate I would have to bow out, and went to meet Stephan at my apartment where I made him massage my scalp while I continuously blew my nose, because my foreplay game is tight like that.
Hopefully, Bryan’s replacement will be just as accomodating and patient with me. Good thing so few people read this blog, because with just four seats at the back bar… I’m hoping this little secret neighborhood stays that way.