Bar Lyon, the latest addition to the Columbus Hospitality Group portfolio, is now open on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Washington Street in the always happening South End. Pull open the door on this busy intersection and you are instantly transported from the streets of the South End to Lyonnaise, France. The intimacy and character of the space is astonishing for those of us who have waited patiently for its opening for what seems like years since they first announced the concept. Seating 48 for table service and 13 at the bar, what comes across as a small space from the outside somehow feels larger once you’re inside.
Photos by Brayan Mesa
We were there at 4:30 when they opened on Friday, the 14th of September. There were only two seats left at the bar once we saddled up. Here’s a quick rundown of what we tried for both food and drink:
Crevelle de Canut
A cheese dip, paired with toasted bread, this dish is a known specialty of Lyon, France. Translating to “silk workers brains” after the 19th-century silk weavers who would often have the smooth herbed-cheese spread in place of lunch. Unlike many cheese spreads, this is not a heavy dip, instead it has a surprisingly light and refreshing flavor.
This delectable salad is topped with smoked bacon. The tartness of the dressing pairs well with the savory, melt-in-your-mouth bacon.
Le Burger Frites
The flavor of this dish was stunning, and the meat was tender. Adding the pork belly topping was a nice touch. However, you can always tell a good spot by their fries, and these were on point.
Photos by Brayan Mesa
A glass of champagne flavored with lemon and absinthe bitters. This drink was a light and refreshing twist on a simple champagne. This drink is sure to be a crowd pleaser with those who don’t want something too overpowering.
La Belle France
For a drink made with egg whites this drink surprisingly featured no foam. The flavor starts out with a mighty sweet taste when it meets your palate… but somehow finishes with a bitter aftertaste.
Translating to “the curse,” this drink is stronger than the rest. It starts off smooth but finishes with a kick of flavor (and booze!).
This drink rings of grapefruit. However, it is not sweet or bitter which are characteristics often associated with grapefruit. Instead, it is perfectly balanced.
This cocktail is tart and sweet, but leaves you feeling refreshed.
We were delighted to see that they had local Somerville brewery Aeronaut on tap. For those who enjoy the floral characteristics of a hoppy IPA, this beer will not disappoint.
Bar Lyon is an exceptional addition to what is truly becoming Restaurant Row, part 2, in the South End. This section of Washington Street (plus parallel Shawmut Avenue) now features more than six full service dining options. Though it took a long time to open, Ostra, Mistraland Sorellina have a great new sibling in Bar Lyon. Good luck to our namesake, Columbus Hospitality Group with this new entry!