Barhopping: Sapor Cafe

When I first visited Sapor about five years ago, I thought that the restaurant would not be around too long. Not because the food was bad, or the wine list poor, or the service surly, but because the place was completely empty, and restaurants around the North Loop sometimes have a short shelf life. Whether it's the nearby posh condos and apartments built in recent years, or a general hunger for tasty foods and good mixed drinks, years later Sapor seems to be thriving. The decor has a comfortable preppiness about it, with light woodwork and windows that are bright and sunny regardless of the outside temperatures. The beers on tap usually include two seasonal pours, with a variety of bottles available, from Singha to Poet Oatmeal Stout to Maredsous Dark Abbey Belgian Ale. Cocktails have playful names: There's the North Loop, for example, named after the bar's neighborhood. It's a sassy mixture of bourbon, vermouth, Framboise (sweet raspberry beer), and bitters. Wine and bubbly menus change with the seasons and will set you back anywhere from $6 to $9 a glass. The bar menu (not served in the dining room) is available 5 p.m. to close Mondays through Saturdays, and features deals on a filling, rotating list of appetizers, such as the thin-crust pizza with caramelized onions, beets, spinach, and goat cheese; a hangar steak sandwich with grilled onions; plentiful BBQ ribs; and marinated olives. Most items on the special menu are well under $10.
Starts: May 6. Daily, 2009

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