Bar profile: Basi Italia

By Columbus Alive
From the September 20, 2012 edition

About four years ago Basi Italia remodeled the patio bar, turning it into an idyllic spot to get a drink. Basi’s patio is renowned for upscale Italian al fresco dining, but for some reason its inviting bar has remained one of the city’s hidden gems.

“Our goal is to make this bar a destination, somewhere for people to really enjoy themselves,” said general manager Caitlin Lahr.

An updated cocktail list is one way Basi looks to become a destination. Over the summer the bar has implemented a whole new line of recipes, presenting excellently crafted cocktails ($9-$11). Bar manager Chris Manis said the plan is to make fresh, inventive variations on the classics and prohibition-era recipes.

“We want to stick to the classics and great flavors, but be innovative,” said Manis.

The big chalkboard behind the bar lists three or four featured cocktails daily, but Manis and his staff are more than capable of making whatever you’re in the mood for. A huge dossier of recipes is kept behind the bar, and bartenders are always helpful in creating a cocktail to your liking. This is a friendly, well-trained group.

The featured cocktails are, for the most part, seasonally orientated; a gin and cucumber drink I tried in late summer was as refreshing as you’d expect. A new fall cocktail list is being finalized and will be unveiled late this month. Warming up with a drink during a chilly fall evening under twinkling lights of the awning-covered bar should be on everyone’s October bucket list.

When the weather turns cold, Basi drops plastic walls and turns up the outdoor heaters to keep the bar open. A winter cocktail list will be offered, and happy hour specials are scheduled for after the New Year.

While Basi only recently started promoting its standout cocktails, the restaurant has long been known for its excellent wine list. The carefully curated list offers a number of wines by the glass ($6-9) and by the bottle (most between $30-$40).