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The Libertine Bar Goes Local, Bringing Folks Locally Sourced Ingredients and Craft Beers

By Elisha Neubauer

Mike Smith and Simon McDonald are no strangers to the restaurant industry. Having grown up in the business, the pair ventured into proprietorship with their previous endeavor, The Meridian Room, back in 2000. While the eatery was a dream come true for the business partners, they knew they wanted to take another direction, and when a space came available in their desired location in 2006, they jumped on it.

The space became known as The Libertine Bar, "a lower Greenville Ave bar pouring local and imported craft beers both on tap and from an extensive list of bottles, as well as classic and original cocktails," according to their website.

"We just wanted a place that was where WE would hang out," explained McDonald. "We were young, but very much enjoyed the one on one we had with our customers at other venues we had worked, but wanted to up the food factor. This was in 2000, well before everything was 'craft,' 'crafty,' 'local,' or 'artisanal,'" responds McDonald. "However, we knew we wanted to provide a local place based around a thriving neighborhood and provide all of those amenities well before they became ubiquitous and trendy."

Up the food factor they did, as they opted to focus on a bar menu that was complimentary of the drink selection. "Our kitchen strives to offer a chef driven, bar style menu, with small plates, shared plates, sandwiches and entrees," says Smith. "We keep the menu small & focus on quality by grinding meats and roasting in-house to avoid processed products."

"We try to provide a welcoming, casual atmosphere that caters to the neighborhood," explains Smith when asked about their environment. "We love the idea of the neighborhood bar where the staff and patrons know each other and even if you don't, you feel welcome." McDonald detailed the concept in his own words, saying, "What The Libertine is, is what 'Libertine' is defined as. A fun place with leftist leanings full of people with all sorts of different and opposing views, who like to have fun, drink good cocktails and beers, and keep coming back for the camaraderie and good people and good times."

The Libertine currently only utilizes local producers, creating new relationships and strengthening the local food and beverage community. Fresh, local ingredients allow the menu to change seasonally, and beer selection is rotated to provide new choices and experiences to local patrons. "The Libertine offers quality choices over the entire menu with a focus on providing good value to the neighborhood," affirms Smith. "The brews are harder to pick, but local breweries have made a huge impact and make up a large percentage of the beer sales."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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