Stir Eatery and Lounge is located on that stretch of Division north of Francis, next to the Golden Corral and across from Northwest Pet and Seed — in other words, not the kind of place where a person would expect to find an upscale martini bar.
But Stir’s location isn’t the only surprise here. There’s the Reuben sandwiches ($10.99), flat iron steaks ($13.99), barely seared ahi stacked high atop a bed of rice ($13.99/$22.99), and a layout that creates the illusion of three establishments in one.
I sampled the basil Rangpur gimlet, a choice well worth making, and the artichoke and lobster dip. When was the last time you dipped into an artichoke and lobster terrine that was heavy on the lobster and light on the artichoke? Or sipped at a basil gimlet that was heavy on the gin and light on the basil? At an establishment that was on the same strip as a Golden Corral?
And what about pairings? A gimlet and … a reuben sandwich? Or how about a Key lime pie martini with gumbo? The incongruities were starting to hurt my head.
New owner Ryan Lieuallen eased the pain. When asked what kind of martini one should pair with a Reuben sandwich, he grinned and pointed to the rustic wooden wine bar, an area offset from the martini bar’s bistro seating and metallic piping. Then he offered up the wine list, one that is still in progress but currently features 10 reds and five whites, including 14 Hands, the house wine.
Lieuallan also pointed out the centrally located restaurant-style dining area and spoke about the ambiance he wished to create at his Northside establishment. He kept the menu and drinks of the old Stir Eatery and Lounge, praising the talents of chef Nick Kesler and mixologist Robert Dixon, but wanted to replace Stir’s club atmosphere with a more upscale ambiance — one that Northsiders don’t have to head downtown to experience.
And Northsiders are crowding the place. “Fridays are unbelievable,” says Lieuallen, “almost nerve-wracking scary.”
Stir Eatery and Lounge • 7115 N. Division St. • Open Mon-Thu, 11:30 am-midnight; Fri-Sat, 11:30 am-2 am • stirmartini.com • 466-5999