Bar Noce is a cocktail lounge space at the back of Italian restaurant Noce serving a selection of negronis and affordable late night snacks.
Noce itself has been open for over 24 years, and Bar Noce was created as a way to have guests in more casually and frequently for relaxed visits and happy hour specials rather than full-on dinners.
The entire restaurant underwent an extensive renovation in 2017 which resulted in the invention of the sleek back space, now dominated by an eccentric art piece apparently done by a former upstairs tenant.
A tonno crudo is $14 for a relatively small pile of diced raw tuna, crispy polenta, Asian pear, basil and n'duja dressed with a spicy Italian chermoula, but the contrast of crunchy, soft, sweet, spicy and fragrant is very pleasing.
Paccheri fritti ($8) is a kind of fried pasta roll stuffed with velvety, starchy potato and parmigiano, served with a side of carbonara aioli that doesn't remind me much of the bacon-and-egg dish, but is quite creamy and complementary to the crispy rolls.
Tigela con mortadella ($8) is a sandwich of sturdy, crunchy pistachio skillet bread with thickly-layered mortadella.
It's somewhat confusingly topped with more crushed pistachio, which just kind of falls off when the sandwich is picked up, but could lend a nice crunch, and maybe would be better off inside the sandwich where it could stick to a little mayo of some kind.
A fagioli bianchi plate ($9) comes from a "vegano" section of the menu, essentially a cannellini bean hummus topped with rosemary, crispy potato bits and a tomato powder that's also on the cracker-like "Sardinian bread" provided for dipping.
A pizza al vapore ($10) translates to a steamed pizza, a mini pie topped with tomato sauce, fior de latte and basil on dough similar to that of Chinese buns.
An Honolulu ($15) combines Crystal Head vodka, amaretto, lemon juice, orange bitters, and a very bright and tasty Briottet mango liqueur.
A Spirit of Italy Negroni is the most Italian of four listed $15 negronis, made using all-Italian ingredients for a powerhouse version of the classic: Malfi gin, Campari, Strega, Lucano and Cocchi Torino vermouth.
The Smoking Joke ($15) has been on the cocktail menu since day one, a boozy combination of Woodford Reserve bourbon, Beefeater gin, amaro, Dubonnet and Meletti hickory-smoked in a skull-shaped Crystal Head bottle.
Bar Noce has its own separate side street entrance and a sidelong patio. Check the chalkboard for frequently changing specials. You can order from Noce's restaurant menu in here, but the Bar Noce snack menu is exclusive to this space.