The look: Dwarfed by nearby condos and apartments, the free-standing building stands out like a quirky urban oasis. There's a small patio in front and a larger courtyard on the side. Inside, the bar is the focal point of the cozy DIY space, with a high-top counter near the entrance and a row of rustic wood tables and banquettes along one wall. Carved wooden roosters adorn a dangling light fixture.
The scene: One recent evening, the back parking lot was full and cars stretched up a side street. The bar and most of the outdoor tables were occupied, too. Many of the friendly servers and guests seemed to know each other, giving the impression that Bantam had already become a lively neighborhood destination.
The menu: So far, chef Darvelio Ramirez's offerings are divided between a tapas menu of four items and an entree menu of five items, plus a few daily specials. Among the small plates, find grilled hanger steak with crispy potatoes, arugula and mushroom jus ($8) and pan-seared scallops with seaweed salad and Asian sauce ($9). Larger plates include a lamb burger topped with feta cheese, chili marmalade and crispy onions ($12) and grilled salmon over rosemary portobello mushrooms and white truffle risotto ($20).
The drinks: At the bar, look for classic cocktails and a short wine list. The beer list ranges from Estrella Duarte gluten-free lager ($5) and Finch's Secret Stache Stout ($6) to local favorites Sweetwater 420 ($4) and Terrapin Hopsecutioner ($5), plus Stella Cidre ($5).
The extras: On the current dessert menu ($6), there's Key lime pie and creme brulee. Brunch service kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays beginning Sept. 28.