The Rogue Gentlemen: A hipster bar in Richmond's Jackson Ward district
Unassuming from the outside, but convivial and a tad mysterious on the inside is The Rogue Gentlemen, Jackson Ward neighborhood’s hip bar, which has a world-class cocktail and dining scene beneath its gleaming tin roof.
The seasonal cocktail menu showcases a library of flavors: one bite of the flaky cheddar and chive buttermilk biscuits will make you feel completely at home in the South (these are served with a velveteen apple butter).
Owner John Mayer, who also has a few silent partners, was smart enough to recognize the potential for Jackson Ward, formerly called the Harlem of the South. He opened the bar in 2014, and expected the area to morph into a trendy culinary destination, which it now is (nearby are restaurant Mama J’s and Saison, each with a loyal following). With the appointment of Executive Chef Will Longoria, the bar became known not only for its original cocktails crafted by bar manager Paul Blumer, but also its richly-decorated dishes.
In fact, when my friends and I dined there recently, we ended up being amazed by the food: a pickled blueberry risotto? Chocolate-lavender cheesecake? These are not flavors you’d associate with your run-of-the-mill Southern bar that serves you thick biscuits with a side of butter.
When I was there, I tried a drink called the "La Querida" which looked aesthetically spectacular, crafted with a reposado tequila, sweet vermouth, and an orange espalette salt rim. The drink also had black walnut bitters, which gives you an idea of the artful nuances in every drink.
When the new cocktail menu rolled around during summer solstice, the bar team focused on the light, airy with a twist. You'll find riffs on the mule, the daiquiri and the tiki drinks.. but always quintessentially Southern, and quite rogue.