Doar Bros. excels at the crafted cocktail small plates game (Charleston City Paper) Feb06


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Doar Bros. excels at the crafted cocktail small plates game (Charleston City Paper)

There are already some well-known bros. out there — Warner Bros., Super Mario Bros., the kind that come before hos — yet Doar Bros. on Meeting Street is positioned to join the ranks. While the name at first feels appropriate for an Amish sausage-making duo or progressive bluegrass band, the homey casualness is no doubt intentional. Notably, the self-styled cocktail bar looks fancy, but much like flare dresses and skillful haircuts, feels effortless.

The space is compact and dominated by navy and gold tones, but the high ceilings and open seating give it a roomy feel. There are forest green banquets, small vases of weedy chamomile flowers, and a French-heavy soundtrack overhead. The menu is first and foremost geared toward libations, and cocktails are the name of the game.

There’s a seasonal menu of modern offerings, plus a list of standards. From the former, the knowledgeable and friendly bartender endorsed the Mary Moultrie ($10), an effervescent mix of pomegranate, blood orange, and rosemary soda, along with vodka and Aperol. The soda is made in-house, as are many of the infused ingredients used throughout, and staff were visibly juicing, zesting, and peeling fresh fruit during our visit.

In the 130 years since its inception, no cocktail has suffered more abuse than the daiquiri. Originally made with a delicate balance of rum, sugar, and lime juice, the former pride of Havana has evolved into the stuff of spring break blackouts, sequestered and shamed on the back of laminated Señor Frog’s menus. Doar Bros. takes the original island concept and turns it on its head. Their portside daiquiri ($12) is infused with the wintery flavors of fig and port wine, then finished with Hoodoo chicory liqueur in order to (per the bartender) “give it a little backbone.” Robust, yet light, you’ll be hard pressed to look the frozen blender versions in the eye.

Meanwhile, the classic cocktail options include well-known picks like a margarita ($12), a negroni ($12), and even a Gibson martini ($10). There are also some lesser-known throwbacks like the Death in the Afternoon ($10), made with bubbly cava and herbal absinthe, plus lemon and powdered sugar.

Jack Rose ($10), popular in the 1920s and ’30s, takes its name from applejack brandy and the color imparted by grenadine. Doar’s version is lightened up with the addition of ginger beer, rendering it the kind of light, fruity beverage one might accidentally imbibe well beyond reason. Thankfully, it’s not served in an All-You-Can-Guzzle punchbowl, so any overconsumption is on you.

Should you arrive at Doar Bros. with an empty stomach, don’t expect opportunities to fill your belly so much as give your mouth something interesting to do. Much like the fresh and thoughtful cocktails, the tidy food menu is geared toward sating your palate.

There are East Coast oysters on the half shell ($16 for six), assorted cheeses with baguette ($14), and aged prosciutto di parma ($12) should you prefer the familiar. If not, the brown butter popcorn ($5) delivers a touch of decadence in a small brown paper bag. Topped with truffle salt, parmigiano reggiano, and chives, in the interest of limiting fisticuffs and the divorce rate, the staff should probably require one per person.

The Carolina apples and burrata ($12) arrives beautifully plated, and two scoops of the cold, creamy cheese are drizzled with olive oil. They’re snuggled between three small stacks of balsamic-poached apple cubes topped with a touch of sliced prosciutto. Garnished with crushed pistachio, the dish is deliberate and elegant, just enough to calm your appetite.

The local white fish crudo ($14) produces very little volume, yet notable culinary bang for your buck. Quality over quantity, the red snapper was caught that same day and tastes like it. Heavily dressed with olive oil, then garnished with coriander, white balsamic, and three thin radish slices, the portion yields but four precious bites. Chew slowly.

The bread pudding ($10) is the only dessert option, and has a foot firmly planted in both salty and sweet country with a savory, mellow brioche-based square of ‘pudding.’ Topped with a sticky salted caramel sauce, this is a filling, amiable choice.

Doar Bros. is a chic spot with swanky music, a door man, and thoughtful, albeit itsy, fare. At the same time, it’s a welcoming neighborhood joint with chummy staff, exceptional cocktails, and tiny vases of wildflower cuttings on the table. Whether you want to add shaved black truffles to any dish ($10) or simply sip on your Jack Rose while you imagine you’re a 1920s starlet, the choice is yours.