Café des Amis was created as an all – day restaurant to fit the browsing nature of the neighborhood. Rows of small marble cocktail tables spill out onto the sidewalk, allowing guests to make a spectator sport out of watching people “parade” up and down Union Street.
Inside, the light-filled 7,000-square-foot space has sweeping floor-to-ceiling French doors that open into the bar area featuring a 28-foot bar top made from a single pour of solid zinc. Hand-crafted by an artisan, working alone in his atelier on the outskirts of Paris, the zinc top took a year to complete, and the result is nothing less than stunning.
The restaurant’s interior also showcases antique Carrara marble floors dotted with big, bright red banquettes and shiny, black lacquered wood. An oversized window allows passersby to peek in from the street and gaze at a great display of shellfish expertly being shucked by the staff.
Toward the back, looking out over the restaurant, is a raised dining room with bold wrought iron, a massive chandelier, an antique limestone fireplace from Provence, and beautiful Bordeaux-colored mohair paneled walls. All together, they create a luxurious atmosphere. At Café des Amis, Bacchus has again created a democratic dining space. Guests can come in and indulge in oysters and beer at the bar, or retreat to the dining room for a more elaborate dining experience.
A brasserie-inspired menu was created by Bacchus Management Group’s partner and chef Gordon Drysdale, executive chef Ed Carew, and chef de cuisine Justin Deering. It carefully spans the classics—from a charcuterie program with rillettes and pâté de campagne, to a salad lyonnaise and flatiron steak frites, to featured house specials like choucroute garni and a côte de boeuf for two. The raw bar has a fantastic selection of oysters, clams, mussels, spot prawns, crab, urchin, and lobster. Lastly, the late-night menu presents perfected standards like steak tartare and onion soup gratinée.