Happy hour review: Ethyl & Tank confidently mixes classy with casual

By
From the May 8, 2014 edition

A few years ago, the only reason to head to E. 13th Street was to buy a ferret or a bong. Luckily for us, that’s changed. Ethyl & Tank’s (19 E. 13th St.) competitive food and drink specials and welcoming atmosphere finally lets the non-college crowd enjoy living-on-student-loans prices without the obnoxious frat-boy atmosphere. The Crest’s hip little brother has masterfully balanced the class-to-casual ratio, making a visit to E&T worth the parking nightmare.

Food/Drink Specials: 3.75/5

The strength of E&T’s happy hour is the variety of food and drink specials. The daily “blue plate specials” run the gamut from St. Louis ribs to cheeseburgers, and go for a wallet-friendly $6. Both 60-ounce beer and 32-ounce liquor pitchers (donning video game inspired names like “Zelda”) are 25 percent off the $10 price. All drinks, including coffee, are half-off from 3-9 p.m., which made my Jameson and ginger ale a pleasing (and dangerous) $2.50. The beer list was unpretentious, but offered a respectable variety of brews. Ethyl’s “Tank Frank Mondays” offer an unlimited-topping hotdog bar, with the patron’s choice of veggie or beef dogs for $3 a pop or 2 for $5.

Atmosphere: 3.5

Ethyl & Tank has come a long way, since the days of the seedy pet store. The roomy establishment occupies the space that was once multiple businesses, allowing for an open floor plan that feels simultaneously intimate and spacious. The walls are coated in muted green and lots of natural sunlight pours in from the large windows lining the storefront. Curated décor reinforce the industrial/rust belt feel. Beastie Boys played in the background as an early crowd filled the barstools and high-top patio tables, or hit up some old-school arcade games. The vibe in the bar seating area was lively without being overwhelming, and swayed my decision to stay for a few extra rounds.

Overall: 3.5

Ethyl & Tank has hit a sweet spot between casual and classy, giving non-campus dwellers reason to re-examine the area’s nightlife scene. Prices are competitive and both the food and drink menu will satisfy a variety of palates, but the range in menu items make it difficult to pinpoint a theme. Though there’s room for improvement, once E&T hones the message, big brother The Crest will have to up its game.

Photo by Meghan Ralston