The Firehouse Lounge in the Strip District welcomes a new boutique cocktail bar with a speakeasy feel. The bar is located on the first floor and specializes in pre-Prohibition era cocktails made from the finest ingredients. It's named Embury, for David Embury, author of "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" first published in 1948 and still readily available today.
Behind the bar you'll find Freddie Sarkis whose experiences include working as an opening bartender Quartino in Chicago, creating the cocktail and wine list for Il Mulino in Chicago and acting as head of mixology for Douglas Rodriguez restaurant DeLaCosta in Chicago.
There's a menu with some delicious options posted on-line, but you'll have the most fun if you put yourself in Sarkis' hands. On a recent Thursday evening, I was in cocktail heaven, trying everything from an old-fashioned made with Buffalo Trace bourbon (I generally prefer bourbon to rye but both are available) to a Yellow Rose of Texas, made with tequila and yellow chartreuse.
Sarkis puts his own spin on many cocktails--for example, he uses simple syrup made from agave nectar rather than sugar in the Yellow Rose of Texas cocktail, and he flamed the bitters (angostura, I believe) as the final touch to a pisco sour.
While part of me longs to keep this place to myself, hopefully Sarkis and Warren will show bartenders, bar-owners and restaurateurs around Pittsburgh that we're willing to pay and wait for drinks when they're made as well as these.