Tequila, sports and palindromes? Sounds like Three Headed Productions, the team that brought us Cans Bar and Canteen, Junior's Sports Lounge and Salud Tequila Lounge, ran out of themes and had to get creative. Evil Olive focuses on the reversible phrases, which you'll find painted on the walls and gracing the specialty drink menu. You'll discover a second nod to the name in plated gourmet olives, which you can order hand-stuffed with blue cheese, four cheeses, jalapeno or cactus.
The swank decor maximizes the beautiful loft space and makes you feel like you're somewhere special and a little off-the-path. Luxurious U-shaped booths lining the walls of the main floor offer plenty of room for cozying up with your group. The back opens up to some quality hangout corners where you'll find a vintage photo booth to immortalize you for $2. A lofted second floor houses a pool table, some extra seating and a balcony where you can scan the scene or ogle the DJ, who floats above the crowd in a dramatically lit alcove. Plasmas overhead screen eye-candy flicks like V For Vendetta.
Three separate bars keep traffic moving, and each counter boasts an impressive array of quality tequilas, bourbon, scotch and other liquor. Pours are strong but balanced; drinks aren't too steep at around $5-$9. A standard lineup of brews includes Red Stripe, Bass, Amstel and Fat Tire. And look for drink specials during the week like half-price on everything (including top shelf!) on Monday.
The only gripe we had was with the music, which seemed to be searching for its groove. An early-on playlist jumped from smooth hip-hop to the Dead to Johnny Cash to Soundgarden–hinting that maybe the unlimited web-based jukebox is better in theory than in practice (DJs spin on weekends from 11 p.m., but the juke is the norm). Still, between the comfy but posh space, the diversions and the strong booze, Evil Olive seems to have what it takes to keep the cool kids coming.
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger