It’s like Thanksgiving poured over bourbon. That’s how my bearded friend gleefully described the strange drink in front of him. I could smell the pecans from my spot at the spacious, peninsula-style bar.
We were hanging out at the Lake House Bar & Grill. A lake house, in my mind, is a place college kids borrow from their parents to throw boozy waterfront parties. This Lake House is not that. This Lake House has a pecan-infused cocktail, but no lake.
The decor includes mounted snow geese, two porcelain turtle shells, and a handful of black-and-white photos featuring the White Rock Boat Club. There is a giant fish on one wall and four big garage-style doors that pull up to let in the breeze. It looks like a boathouse. But, you know, without the water.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the laid-back bartender, Adam. He told us how he used to own a bar but now enjoys the slower pace of working at someone else’s. I cut to the chase: “Where’s the lake?”
Adam all but rolled his eyes. “If you walk 150 feet that way,” he said, pointing over his shoulder, “you’ll be able to see White Rock Lake.”
I don’t think that’s close enough, but I gave up the argument when Adam brought out our drinks: that fragrant Southern Sipper (Buffalo Trace bourbon infused with fresh pecans, honeycomb, and vanilla beans) for my friend and a citrusy Sunshine cocktail for me. Before long, I was beginning to feel at home among the dressed-down regulars. There was a couple who looked like they’d spent the day boating, an elderly trio out for a late dinner, and a single lady with her iPad.
A clean-cut guy named Wes said he visits the Lake House several times a week but couldn’t articulate why. He explained that he likes the food—though that night he wasn’t eating. There’s a good selection of wine and draft and bottled beer, but besides the cocktails, there’s not much you can’t order elsewhere.
Still, Wes couldn’t deny his addiction. “I promise myself I won’t come after work,” he said, “but I always end up here.”
The thing about the Lake House is this: it’s not exciting. That’s not to say it isn’t a nice place to relax. On a pleasant night, the breeze rolling in through those open doors is nothing short of wonderful, and my bearded friend is still talking about that pecan drink. Actually, we spent quite a while debating whether there’s a name for the iced-tea dispenser thing from which my buddy’s Southern Sipper had been ladled.
That mystery was still unsolved when a group of college-aged kids wearing rainbow headbands, super-tall socks, off-the-shoulder shirts, and high ponytails walked in. I looked around for an explanation, but the rest of the crowd seemed unfazed. Folks come here to decompress after a busy day. They don’t care about rainbow headbands. Or that the lake is a good hike away.
My friend wasn’t paying attention to the rainbow headbands, either. He was busy ordering another Southern Sipper.