When a guy's succeeded at something several times before, you expect his next attempt to be grander, like Usain Bolt pulverizing another record in the 100, or Bernie being even dead-er on his second Weekend. Unleashing the biggest offering yet in a string of successes, Tavern 99.
The newest, largest hangout from owner Scott McCray of McCray's West Village Tavern, 6th St. Tavern, and the not-at-all-repetitively named Tavern On The Square, 99's a 200-seat shrine to beer and bites in the former Aiko spot, with a two-level patio, an interior with two brown marble-topped bars, nine flatscreens, dark wood-paneled walls adorned with red drapes, an event room with space for 100 in back with its own restrooms and bar, and a brick-walled stage for small bands, as long as they promise not to behave like Little Richards. The menu, which exclusively uses locally purveyed produce, leads off with apps like PEI Mussels steamed in white wine, and Fried Macaroni & Cheese mixed w/ bacon & chives; next up's sandwiches like Grilled Mahi Mahi w/ sundried tomato aioli, the pulled pork Texas Toast Barbecue, and the french fry-topped Pittsburgh Hot Pastrami on French bread, featuring, thinly sliced naval pastrami, which Marine pastrami thinks is a total joke. A six-burger roster includes 8oz-ers like the Cobb (bacon, bleu cheese, avocado), and the Patti Melt (sauteed onions & provolone on toasted rye), and pounders like the Tavern 99 Burger w/ bacon, American cheese, jalapenos, guac, & cheddar; available-after-5pm entrees range from the Pork Chop (grilled w/ honey & grain mustard glaze), to Pan Seared Scallops w/ wild mushroom/parmesan risotto, to the chicken-or-shrimp accompanied Rigatoni Vodka Sauce, w/ sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and a touch of marinara, which is exactly why the sauce had to come to your door and introduce itself when it moved into the neighborhood.
99's got 40 wines, 17 bottled brews (Shiner Bock, Sessions Lager, Full Sail IPA), 27 taps (Smithwicks, Magic Hat 9, Leinenkugel Classic Amber), and signature pee-with-the-seat-down cocktails, like the Three Olives Bubble vodka/cranberry juice/splash of ginger ale Bubble + Ginger, also the name of girls so good looking, they could keep Jonathan Silverman coming back for Four.