Of all the stylish gastropubs in town, none melds mixology and the culinary arts with as much ease as Fountain Square watering hole Thunderbird. Fringed with brick walls, dangling Edison bulbs, and an artfully deconstructed piano, patrons kick back in the knotty wooden booths to sip on one of the cleverly named cocktails, like The Worst Behavior, a complex bourbon-infused sipper brightened by the sweetness of Lustau Cream Sherry and honey. But the standing-room-only crowd isn’t just there for the drinks. Consulting chef Carlos Salazar and chef de cuisine Andrew Whitmoyer have created an impressive lineup of plates, ranging from classics like fried okra and deviled eggs to an ultra-creamy take on shrimp and grits drizzled with Tabasco remoulade. If you’re coming for dinner, don’t even think about passing up the opportunity to partake in the pickle-brined fried chicken. One of the affable servers might try to talk you out of the 30-minute wait time for the dish, but don’t you dare listen. It’s worth every sassafras honey–glazed bite.
Concept: Rock ’n’ roll bar bites
Owners: Joshua Gonzalez, Ed Rudisell, Jon Altman, and Carlos Salazar
Chefs: Carlos Salazar, consulting chef; Andrew Whitmoyer, chef de cuisine
Pedigree: Gonzalez has been a mixologist at Pizzology, Libertine Liquor Bar, and The Ball & Biscuit. Restaurateur Ed Rudisell owns Siam Square, Black Market, and Rook. Carlos Salazar is head chef at Rook. Andrew Whitmoyer worked at Bluebeard.
Try it if you like: The Ball & Biscuit
Check it out: 1127 Shelby St., 974-9580, thunderbirdindy.com