City Council, which took over the space formerly known as Boxwood Tap & Grill, is a bright and welcoming Uptown bar with solid cocktails, a menu with light fare options, and a name that means business. Fortunately, the place is way less uptight than its name would suggest and manages to strike a nice balance between casual and classy.
Uptown’s City Council strikes a balance between casual and classy.
The Atmosphere: City Council is very well-lit and exudes a wholesome, friendly community feeling. The walls are mostly exposed brick with scores of hanging lightbulbs overhead. There’s a nice-sized bar with flatscreen TVs, a corner with plush couches, and plenty of tables for dining. When I visited, the outdoor patio was under construction – I was told that it was being outfitted with couches and possibly a satellite bar to give it more of a lounge feel.
What to Order: The drink selection includes beer, wine, and nine cocktails with government-flavored names like the Dirty Politician (bourbon, vermouth, lemon juice, strawberry vanilla syrup) and the Pretentious Councilwoman (vodka, lemon cardamom syrup, lime juice, grapefruit juice). The food is a mix of predictable bar options (burgers, sandwiches, etc.) and delicious-looking light fare (vegetable-based bowls). City Council has some truly inspired weekend brunch options, too: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about whether their “Boozy Cereals” section (an actual option: Fruit Bites, milk, Pinnacle Citrus Vodka, St. Elder, black raspberry liquor) is a stroke of genius or madness.
Who’s There: The crowd was professional and well-dressed, but not particularly pretentious. I noted a smattering of regulars at the bar, plenty of dinner dates at the tables, and that the couches were occupied by a gang of women on a ladies’ night out. I’ve seen the place pegged around the Internet as a kind of businessy meeting spot, but didn’t get an overwhelming sense of that. The vibe seemed pretty light and casual.
The bartenders make both regulars and newcomers feel at home.
The Bartenders: These men and women know the menus backwards and forwards (and upside down) and are quite at ease recommending a signature cocktail or simply serving up a vodka soda. The bartender I spoke with was the type to shake hands with regulars and make time to talk with them but was careful not to let non-regulars feel the slightest bit ignored.
What I Didn’t Like: Maybe I have the sense that low lighting creates an air of mystery, or is somehow protective (like people can’t see that I’m sneaking around taking notes? I don’t know.), but City Council is way too bright for my taste. The brightness lends a sterilized, clean-cut vibe to the place – which might be a good thing, just not what I prefer.
What I Did Like: Awesome vegan options! The food menu has a nice variety of light and healthy fare, but I was particularly excited about the vegan options in the “Build Your Own Bowl” section. In fact, I plan to become acquainted with the Texas Bowl (potato hash, jalapeños, red onions, pico, and avocado) very soon.