Varga Bar, named for Alberto Vargas, the Peruvian-born painter famous for his pin-up girls in the ’40s, is a casual neighborhood bar with the namesake girls painted on the ceilings. Located at 10th & Spruce on a relatively quiet residential block, Varga Bar is crowded during happy hour and late into the night. Serving upscale, creative bar food until 1am and 20 American craft beers, Varga Bar is a great spot to meet friends for dinner or for a late night snack. In the summer, score a table outside among their extensive wraparound sidewalk seating.
The food is inspired by 1940s American comfort food, but with a twist. For example, there’s nothing better than cheese fries, unless of course you add chunks of jumbo lump crab on top. Love wings? How about chicken wings confit in duck fat and covered in a pomegranate bourbon-chili sauce. And the sliders here are made of Kobe beef and served with Boursin, caramelized shallots, applewood-smoked bacon and onion rings. Other popular bar snacks include the beer-battered pickles, roasted brussel sprouts, and truffled mac ‘n cheese. Varga Bar also offers sandwiches and entrees, priced between $9-$22, and include Kobe chili-cheese dog with beer braised chili, shaved pickles, white cheddar and smoked paprika onion rings, the veggie burger and bourbon smoked baby back ribs with cheddar cheese grits. Prices appear on the high side for a bar, but the portions are large and the homemade and high end ingredients and creative twists make it worth it.
At Varga Bar, the pickles, ketchup, mustard, pasta and ice cream are all made in-house. They also offer an impressive selection of cheeses served with house made pickled almond caramel, garlic dulce de leche, bourbon-maple mustard, spiced marcona almonds, root beer cherry-balsamic reduction, and truffled honey. And if you’re feeling nostalgic for childhood, try the trio of cereal-flavored ice cream, which changes nightly, featuring selections like Lucky Charms, Peanut Butter Cap N’ Crunch or Cocoa Puffs. This house-made concoction isn’t as simple as cereal mixed into the ice cream, but ice cream that actually tastes like your favorites.
When sitting inside, tables are close together and service, on occasion, has been slow and snooty, but go for the interesting food and the diverse drinks menu. Specialty cocktails include the Hard Strawberry Lemonade, made of vodka and house made strawberry lemonade and the Elder Gin, made of gin, St. Germain, fresh cucumber and ginger ale.
Brunch served Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am-3pm. Food is served Monday through Thurs 4pm-1am and Fri-Sun 11:30am-1am