Bar Sótano

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Rishi Manoj Kumar, until now Frontera’s private-dining chef, is Bar Sotano’s chef. Lanie Bayless, daughter of Rick and Deann Bayless and the restaurant group’s spirits director, is in charge of the cocktail program (assisted by bar manager Roger Landes); indeed, Bar Sotano was created to let Lanie Bayless spread her wings. The entrance is in the alley behind Clark Street. From there, it’s a short ride down the large but well-worn freight elevator. The ride itself is part of the experience; guests can enjoy a short sip of a batched cocktail — an amuse bouche in liquid form — during the one-story descent. Lanie Bayless’ cocktails are grouped conceptually. There are the juice-driven Fruit Stand cocktails, including a tequila, mango and spicy-tangy chamoy concoction served in a plastic bag with a straw (“the way you’d get it on the streets of Oaxaca,” she says). Botanicas incorporate medicinal herbs in drinks that approximate classic cocktails; the signature El Sotano is essentially a margarita (albeit one that embraces hoja santa tea), and there are riffs on the negroni and gin and tonic as well. Menu items include Sótano ceviche, charctuerie, roasted bone marrow, the topalo burger, mussels and more--categorized by small, medium and large plates.