Best place to go for the cocktails but stay for the food

barTini Bistro 1203 Willamette, ste. 130. 541-359-1235.

barTini bistro is a newer Eugene establishment- — setting roots on Willamette Street in the fall of 2019. The overall atmosphere is classy without being pretentious, and the cocktail menu, as the name barTini indicates, is finely curated. The air inside lingers with the rich scent of the Smoke & Mirror cocktail — barTini’s take on a whiskey old fashioned that’s infused with smoke from recycled bourbon barrel chips. It’s one of the best renditions of this classic in town.

With a seasonal food menu that changes with the sun, on solstices and equinoxes, the food really elevates this small yet swanky spot to a must visit. On Mother’s Day this year, barTini welcomed Chef Bee Beins to the team. Beins, aka Chef Bee, has been working at farm-to-table restaurants since reaching adulthood and brings a creative vision and a love of locally sourced ingredients to the menu. Chef Bee’s cooking is truly magic; you can taste their passion and the love of their art in every bite. Working in a space that cannot be much more than 6-by-4 feet with two burners and a convection oven, Chef Bee slinks past the bartenders and servers, basting to the beat, with an infectious grin spreading across their face. Considering some of us can barely turn a meal out of a full size kitchen, it’s impressive to say the least.

The fall menu brings a little warmth to our cooler fall days, giving vibes of down-home Southern cooking with a heavy Asian twist. While the shrimp-and-grits sticks and Asian fusion family barbeque plates are five star melt-in-your-mouth offerings — the ribs are a three day process to perfection — it’s the butter basted scallops special that’s my current love. Locally purveyed scallops, with an adventurous flavor profile including redwood sorrel, pink peppercorn and a lemon vinaigrette, cuts right to the soul. Everything on the menu is unequivocally lick-your-plate-in-public good.