Today at 4 p.m., the long-awaited Paydirt Bar will serve its first shot of Fighting Cock inside The Zipper, that artsy, roadside-attraction-style building on NE 28th and NE Sandy. The Zipper is also home to multiple micro restaurants, which means that Paydirt doesn't serve a single bite of food. With its all-bar-all-the-time attitude, Paydirt focuses on whiskeys; the industry-darling Fernet-Branca, which it offers on tap; and some seriously quirky design features.
Ezra Caraeff, the former music critic for the Mercury and the guy behind the Old Gold, heads Paydirt. Speaking to Eater by phone, he shared news of 12 taps, including $2 Rainiers, and about 100 whiskeys, bourbons, and scotches; these include a couple of bottles of a one-off Elmer Lee T that you can't get anywhere else.
Caraeff has added some interesting features (several of which were not complete at the time of speaking).
Everyone's heard about the 50-foot bar, but what about the 1930s phone booth? Get inside; pick up the rotary phone; and get connected to a bartender by way of a red Batman phone behind the bar. You can't order just anything, but you can order champagne and a "few other things," such as a bucket of Miller High Life (Champagne of beers. Get it?). The champagne prices run from cheap to fancy. Paydirt also has a patio that will stay open till 2 a.m. on weekends.
In terms of prices, Paydirt serves $7 boilermakers, and its most spendy cocktails are $9. Signature items include a house-made horchata cocktail and a cocktail of Fernet-Branca with Mexican Coca-Cola. Whiskey fans will want to ask the bartenders about the Old Fashioned Roulette: Just explain your whiskey preferences, and the bartender will make you an Old Fashioned using one of Paydirt's many whiskeys (high-end orders will cost more than $9, of course).
Tomorrow, we'll break photos of the new bar's interior, so stay tuned.