Ricochet Bar Lounge held its grand opening celebration Friday night, bringing Tommy Pooch and Alan Roth's South Beach sensibilities to the mainland. So how did the nightlife promoters tweak their formula for the Midtown crowd? Not much.
The lounge's location just around the corner from Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill is beside the point; once you step inside Ricochet, you might as well be on Washington Avenue. There's the tiny DJ area in the back, which will ostensibly host live bands in the future; there's the line of couches and stools surrounding tables reserved for bottle service; and there's the purple, triangular bar that dominates the room, staffed by guys in vests and scantily clad women.
All of which we found surprising, because Ricochet's website promises an "artsy, laid-back lounge" that's "the perfect atmosphere to catch a live show, play a board game or meet your friends for a post-work happy hour." Framed vintage pin-ups made up the only art we saw; the artist-designed coasters that make up the first installment in the Ricochet Art Series weren't anywhere to be found at the bar. And though the foosball table near the entrance tried to add a casual vibe, its primary function seemed to be getting in the way of all the people trying to see and be seen.
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Chef Kris Wessel of Red Light Little River supplies the snacks at Ricochet, a collection of unmemorable empanadas, paninis and charcuterie cuts. The real surprise here is the cocktail list, which fits perfectly into the collection of sophisticated, balanced drinks in Midtown. The "Hells Bells" pairs tequila with passion fruit and Sriracha; "Ginger Snap" is a version of spiked apple cider served either hot or cold. It's a menu of cocktails that could steal business from Sugarcane, Mercadito or Sustain -- if the vibe of the place weren't so clubby.
Of course, maybe this is all just an opening night fluke. Pooch and Roth have been throwing parties on South Beach for so long that they might not know how to do an opening any other way. Maybe you can swing by after work on a Thursday and enjoy a well-made old fashioned and perfectly civil game of Scrabble with a few buddies. But if Ricochet's opening party was a sign of things to come, you might be better off just heading to the beach.