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In the back corner of Barley, Wheat & Rye Social House’s snug fourth-floor space, a couple plays a fierce game of pool. Nearby, a staff member unlocks one of the bar’s 79 lockers containing a regular’s stash of spirits. Elsewhere, friends are chatting, scotch in hand and reclining in leather wingback chairs. At the bar, bowler-hat-sporting General Manager and Beverage Coordinator Dylan Fox fields questions about the more than 600 labels that are available. “It’s really exciting to me to have somebody sit down and want to learn something from me,” Fox says. “I like to nerd out with people [about] cocktail culture. If it’s whiskey, rum, gin or whatever spirit, the history behind it is why I do it.” That regard for the heritage of spirits and cocktails is evident through the bar’s massive menu, with the homage to Jerry Thomas—considered by many to be the father of American mixology—and the throwback drinks populating its 25 pages. “We have tons of classic cocktails on the list that are kind of obscure that most people don’t know about,” Fox says. “I did a bunch of research to try and find things that were unusual and have been around for over a hundred years but most people don’t know about. They are kind of [from] the depths of a cocktail book somewhere.” Take for instance the S’More Gin, a riff on the century-old White Lady cocktail topped with sugar-sprinkled, brûléed egg white foam, or the whiskey-sour-inspired Rogue Sour, the kicker of which is a splash of sour beer. That list of libations is certainly lengthy and impressive, but don’t think that being a spirit savant is required to appreciate the experience. “When people come in here more than a few times we try to know your name and you become like family,” Fox says. “We can make you anything under the sun, but we are also happy to serve you your favorite beer every day.”Edit ModuleShow Tags