You know that old proverb, "the less well-marked a bar, the cooler it is"? No? Oh. Well, it's said, probably just in cooler bars than the ones you've been hanging out in. Like Paper Plane, a serious speakeasy from celebrated barkeep Paul Calvert and the guys behind Victory Sandwich Bar, who've filled the adjoining space behind the Decatur sandwich shop with copious leather, ample wood, and unspeakable amounts of craft alcohol
The non-descript bar within a bar is accessible through a) this less-than-seedy back alley, or b) an unmarked back door past the ping-pong table in Victory. Walking through either makes you seem equally cool to whomever you're bringing along
The dimly lit space gives off the feel of a retro-styled diner with black padded leather booths, brass light fixtures, and wood-paneled walls. Think of a sexied-up Mel's Diner from the old-school sitcom Alice, but with booze and class
The 13-seat hand-polished bar is where Paul waxes poetic on cocktail history and occasionally makes it, recommending epic dinner pairings with his curated selection of wine and craft beers for a true sommelier experience
Expect low-ABV session brews like Founders All Day IPA and Cab Franc varietals that pair well with standout small plates, including octopus, short rib, trout, and spring onion soup
The Trouble in Paradise goes heavy with Fidencia mezcal, Breckenridge bitters, and white cacao
You'll be reanimated by this Lovecraftian Herbert West cocktail using Bluecoat gin, Cocchi Americano Rosa, La Muse Verte Pastis, and Combier Pamplemousse (one of the top three pamplemousses around!)
And then there's this guy. With Wemyss 'Smooth Gentleman' Scotch, Ferreira Tawny port, Luxardo & Boker's bitters, and white cacao, it's called the Anchor's Away, though, really, it'll make you want moor.