The Shops at Midtown Miami offers plenty of solid fare and drink, but the one thing the retail center had lacked was a dedicated craft cocktail bar. Until now.
Bitter Truth, located at the former Barú Urbano space (3252 NE First Ave.), officially opens tomorrow, although it had a soft opening in time for Art Basel. The bar, a partnership among Cocktail Cooperative's Teddy Collins, Sarah Porter, Bryan Canales, and Ryan Alfrey, bring decades of combined bar knowledge to this industrial-style space.
Bitter Truth is a steampunk marriage of NYC's Alphabet City and Miami's Wynwood. The walls are covered in street art, and wire is shaped into light fixtures. Even the bar's punch is served from a decanter fashioned from wood and plumbing fixtures. The bar itself is made from pipe material, and a band performs on a small corner stage.
Collins says the team tweaked the space from its previous design. "The bar was very inefficient. We changed things around and added a window with outside seating."
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He also says he truly wants to make Bitter Truth an everyday watering hole. "I want to get to know everyone and how they drink," Collins says. "My first question when you come in is if you like a drink shaken or stirred. If you like it shaken, I know you want something with citrus and sugar. If you prefer a stirred cocktail, it's going to be more spirit-forward."
Whatever the preference, Collins and company have created cocktails that are, in Collins' own words, "balanced" with "fair prices." After New Times was invited to sample some drinks, it's safe to say Bitter Truth might be the rightful heir to the "fair and balanced" title. Each cocktail — which ranges from a Sazerac with cold-brew coffee to the Truth SeRum, made with Mount Gay Black Barrel, Aperol, Pinot Noir, blackberries, and guava — are truly well made. Ranging from $5 for a punch to $13 for a mule, the prices are truly fair.
Mule for the Elit ($13) is made with Stoli Elit, Campari, citrus, mint, and cucumber and comes topped with a mint sprig. It's served in a recycled can for a picturesque Warhol-style drink.
At $5, the punch of the day is a true deal. On a recent evening, it was a festive take on a holiday milk punch.
The bar food menu is small, but there's something for everyone. Six oysters with mignonette cost $9.
Tacos run $3.50 each and are available in pork belly, chicken, and steak. Other items include pork belly bites ($8), a good burger ($9), and savory French toast sticks with ponche de crème glaze and Angostura bitters ($8).
If you're looking for a simple snack, try the tots ($6) or the sweet potato wedges with cilantro-garlic aioli ($6), or nosh on the complimentary chicharrones.
Bitter Truth officially opens Thursday, December 22. RSVP on eventbrite.com and receive complimentary sponsored cocktails from 7 to 10 p.m.
Bitter Truth is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., with live music in the early part of the evening and a DJ until closing. A weekday happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m. offers discounted drinks made with premium spirits.