A neighborhood without at least a cafe or a bar is a sad neighborhood indeed.
How do you reward yourself after a jog if not with a frosty beer? What do you do if the thought of cooking reduces you to a sad puddle?
Even if you never set foot inside, the warm glow of a bustling bistro can be as pretty as any sunset.
Augustine’s had us at bar and bakery. Yes, more of both of those things, please! And while it does have both, it is above all a home away from home for the dwellers of Union Park (two blocks west of Snelling Avenue on Selby).
Augustine's is brought to you by the people behind the Happy Gnome, which means one thing: beer. Here find 40 rotating domestic craft and imported draft lines. We’re living at a time when 40 draft lines at your neighborhood pub is practically a birthright. They’re also serving a bit of wine, though not much, and mostly the usual suspects available by the affordable glass and bottle. Really, this is a beer place.
It’s also a bakery place, though not one that’s taking itself too seriously. The wee bakery inside Augustine’s is a neighborhood bake shop, where grabbing a sweet treat is a casual decision, not an agonizing deliberation over which world-class laminated croissant to have with your pour-over. This means peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, quick breads without long fermentation times and the like. Everything we tasted fell into the “Hey, that’s pretty good” category.
The Mediterranean-tinged menu serves lunch, brunch, and dinner, and is mostly made up of classic, casual $20-and-under selections.
From a critical standpoint, we had some quibbles with the cooking. The mussel broth needed reducing, the Caesar salad lacked acid, and the Puttanesca, while pretty, lacked depth. Lots of it fell into the “almost there” category.
An eggplant caponata with towers of toasty bread was fun to nibble over drinks. There was nothing wrong with it.
Which really feels like the whole point of Augustine’s. It’s cozy and warm, the service is welcoming, there’s lots and lots of beer. The sweet treats are pretty good and the food is either almost there or not at all wrong.
In other words, it’s your neighborhood place. It’s close to home, and it’s close enough. And, it’s a bakery. In a bar.
1668 Selby Ave., St Paul