By Paul Keily
Bar Louie was founded as a mom and pop bar in Chicago in 1990. After success with their business, they decided to expand and began partnering with various investors over the years. They now have locations throughout the country and are headquartered in Addison, Texas. Here in Prince William County we have two Bar Louie locations in Gainesville and Manassas.
Every Bar Louie has similar decor with a glass motif running along the ceiling. Every so often a broken, shattered design appears. This was inspired by an old story from the original Bar Louie restaurant where a bartender, disgruntled by his view that the restaurant was “selling out,” threw a bar stool through a large glass mural.
When a restaurant has the word “bar” in its name, you would expect a diverse offering of drinks, and Bar Louie lives up that expectation. They have 30 beers on tap, including everything from the hop-heavy Rebel India Pale Ale made by Sam Adams to Heritage Brewing’s Honey Ginger Wheat Ale to imported beers like Dos Equis and Guinness.
Beyond beer, Manager of the Manassas location Melissa Hildebrand said, “We have dozens of cocktails, including the Clover, or ‘the Mantini’ as it’s come to be known due to it’s popularity among men, which is made with Hennessy, Maker’s Mark, fresh-squeezed orange and lemon juices and agave nectar. Another customer favorite is our Strawberry Lemonade Sangria, which is made from fresh strawberries, lemons and Ruffino wine.”
The bar is also stocked with wine. Hildebrand said, “We have a large selection of wine; we carry most varieties and have a lowend and high-end version of each.” The wines predominantly come from California and the West Coast with a few from Italy and New Zealand. You have your choice between a number of “Beautiful Blondes” or “Fiery Redheads.”
Mondays through Fridays you can join the welcoming crew at your Bar Louie for their Happy Hour, which runs from 4-7 p.m. All beers, wines and specialty martinis are offered at a discounted price. Hildebrand said, “Our Happy Hour has come to be very popular with local school teachers. They like to have a drink right after work, which conveniently falls right during our Happy Hour.”
Hungry? Don’t Worry.
Bar Louie has a long list of appetizers, flatbreads, salads, burgers, sandwiches, plates and desserts. There is something for every taste on their extensive menu. Don’t expect the menu to get stale either; every two to three months, about 10 new items are added. Hildebrand said, “We take pride in our food here, and everything is made from scratch every morning, so you are getting the food with the freshest ingredients possible.”
Every Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to closing (2 a.m.), diners can come out to enjoy Five Dollar Burger Night. All burgers are cooked to order, and chicken breast, ground turkey or portabella mushrooms can be substituted for the beef patties. There are a number of different burgers available from your standard hamburger with cheese to more adventurous offerings, such as the “Chicago Stockyard” burger, which includes peppercorn, parmesan-blue cheese, mushrooms, romaine, onion, tomato and Worcestershire sauce. Hildebrand said that one their most popular burgers is the “Backyard BBQ” burger, which comes with cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce, bacon and fried onion strings.
Diner Tim Huntington of Manassas said, “The ‘Backyard BBQ’ burger was amazing. The beef was coarse ground, but tender. It tasted like eating ground steak. The barbeque sauce, cheddar cheese and onion strings didn’t overpower the flavor of the beef patty. The tater tots that came with the burger had a raw, fresh potato taste with just the right amount of salt and crispiness. The fried calamari was delicious. It didn’t have an overbearing taste and had a crispy texture. The sauce that came with it added a nice flavor of spice when I used it.”
Patron Diane Taylor of Manassas said, “The Thai chicken flatbread was great. It looks like a little rectangular pizza and tastes like one too. The spice level was perfect. The heat didn’t stay in your mouth too long, and I wanted to go back for more of the spicy kick with each bite. The house-made peanut sauce provided a nice balance to all the hot peppers. The salmon sliders were visually appealing as well as delicious. It was just the right amount of food, so I didn’t feel too full. There was just the right amount of spice for me, which was good because I have a low spice tolerance. The bacon on top was an unexpected touch that really worked.”
Beyond the food and drink, Hildebrand said, “I want my Bar Louie to be like the Cheers of 2016, where every customer always feel welcomed and relaxed.”
Robert Bridges of Manassas Park said, “I was very surprised the first time I walked into the Gainesville location. I was expecting just the hostess to welcome me, but all the behind-the-bar employees excitedly shouted out, ‘Welcome to Bar Louie!’ It was definitely a welcome change from other restaurants.”
Bar Louie Gives Back
Through a program called Louie’s Love, local aid groups or charities can sign up to get 20 percent of the sales for an evening. Contact your local Bar Louie today!
The Gainesville location of Bar Louie is located at 14081 Promenade Commons Street in Gainesville, and staff can be reached by phone at 571-222-2850. The Manassas location of Bar Louie is located at 9501 Liberia Avenue in Manassas. Staff can be reached by phone at 571-359-4850 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Keily (email@example.com) recently served as Prince William Living’s online submissions manager and also substitute teaches in the county.