Eastbound and Down Icehouse, named for the iconic ’70s Burt Reynolds car picture, Smokey and the Bandit, smells a little like smoke. Punk music blares overhead. Deer heads, metal beer signs, and Trans Am hoods decorate the walls. There’s a cigarette machine by the bar. It’s definitely not a craft cocktail type of place.
Out of habit, I asked for a cocktail menu anyway. The bartender, who wore a ring shaped like the head of a Native American chief, was apologetic. “We’re not really that kind of bar,” he said.
Eastbound and Down specializes in beer and mixed drinks, so my friend got a bourbon and Coke. As I contemplated what to order, a man with enormous ear gauges ordered a draft beer and a shot of strawberry-infused moonshine.
This piqued my interest. A board behind the bar listed the available moonshine flavors: Jolly Rancher, eggplant, habanero garlic. Eastbound and Down may not specialize in cocktails, but when it comes to moonshine, they aren’t afraid to get creative. When the bartender saw me eyeing the jars, he asked if I liked Bloody Marys.
As he whipped up a moonshine Bloody Mary, he mentioned that the habanero garlic moonshine is super spicy. He gave me a whiff of it and my eyes actually watered.
“This is an eight,” he said, referring to its spiciness. “We used to make a 14. We’d basically give it away to anyone who was willing to try.”
After a minute, a longhaired guy appeared in the outdoor bar window. “Bar’s closing early,” the bartender joked, and walked over to chat with his friend. I looked around. The crowd was quite diverse: guys with tattoos, ladies in floral dresses, young couples, single men watching sports.
At first glance, Eastbound and Down may seem a bit gritty. But soon you’ll find that it’s the kind of bar where anyone can feel at home—even cocktail lovers.