Whether borrowing from Kubrick, Kurosawa, or M. Night Shyamalan, Hollywood directors are reverently honest about their influences, unless those influences include M. Night Shyamalan. Proudly borrowing from a couple of local bar-resto luminaries, The 44th Ward Dinner Party.
Open to the public Friday, The Ward pays open homage to its two favorite spots' signature offerings: Kuma's singleminded menu, and the "French dive" vibe of Bar DeVille, whose designers they tapped to create a slightly modified "classy old lady who smokes" look via their signature dark-wooded furniture, antique mirrors, and richly patterned wallpaper. As for grub, instead of Kuma's burgers, the focus is on grilled cheese, with a "Build Your Own" option (10 different breads/cheeses, three infused butter spreads), plus specialties like the "Belmont Harbor" (hickory smoked bacon/aged cheddar/apple slices on sourdough), "Market Days" (mozz/roasted Roma tomatoes/basil on tomato focaccia bollo), and a classic white bread/Kraft job that after midnight'll cost just $1; like at Kuma's, music's central, but metal's being replaced by curation from DJ White Shadow -- not the one who spun b-balls for gangbanging LA teens, the one who spins records for Hef, and the teens he bangs. Sauce-wise, The Ward's serving domestic/import staples and micro-bottles, and though they're not aping DeVille's cocktail list, they do promise to honor that bar's stiff-drink tradition through classics like the True Manhattan, the Red Rooster, and the Rob Roy -- the "Scottish Robin Hood" who stole from the rich, and apparently got crunk with the poor.
Mondays, The Ward's throwing "Bowtie Affairs", where rocking Tucker Carlson's neckwear (which can be rented on-site for $1) is required before gorging on $5 bottomless bowls of bowtie pasta and garlic bread -- a glowing ode to M. Night's future gig at the Garden where breadsticks never end.