San Diego: Checking Out the Speakeasy Noble Experiment

Hanky Panky variation

Hanky Panky variation

I was down in San Diego for Bartenders Weekend and had a night to explore the craft cocktails scene on my own. I grabbed a friend and we were wandering around the Gaslamp district when I remembered about Noble Experiment.  I knew generally it was a speakeasy and so I made a subtle sweep of the restaurant Neighborhood looking for some hidden door. It turns out, Noble Experiment is behind a wall of fake beer kegs. Ah, okay, you got me. Ahaha.

After talking my way in (I would recommend reservations though), we walked in to discover an eclectic room. It was a wall of skulls lined up behind the booths, paintings on the ceilings and a beautiful back bar. We stood on the end of the bar until we eventually got a couple of bar stools.

Bartender's Choice & Ana Maria

Dealer’s Choice & Ana Maria

I had asked for a menu when a new regular (he had confided he’d been there at least 5 times) told me I didn’t need the menu. Oh? Well, apparently there’s thing called “Dealers’s Choice.” I nodded seriously. Yes, of course. Silly me.

My friend got the Ana Maria (gin, longanberry liqueur, sugar, lemon, soda water). And I asked for Dealer’s Choice- rye.

Our newfound bartender friend Eric made me basically an Improved Whiskey Cocktail with rye and absinthe. I then overheard a drink order and (maybe not so innocently) asked if he was using the Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao. The new regular almost fell off his barstool.

From that moment on, we settled down to have a good time at the bar.

Noble Experiment Bartender Eric Johnson

Noble Experiment Bartender Eric Johnson

In fact, we were having such a good time, the barback came over and earnestly said he could make cocktails too. Turns out he’s not really allowed but he joked he wanted a new title. So we dubbed him the sous barchef. For fun, he showed off his repertoire of magic tricks.

Chartreuse "Sour"

Chartreuse “Sour”

For my last couple of drinks, I asked for a Chartreuse Sour — yes, I’ve been on that kick lately. Eric made me one with Green Chartreuse and orgeat. The orgeat was to emulate the creamy mouth feel of the egg white. And then I decided to go to gin. I went with one of my faves, the St. George Spirits Dry Rye. He did a spin on a Hanky Panky with it and added Cointreau. It was a bit sweet for me but perhaps I’ll call it my dessert drink since it has Fernet-Branca in it as well.

We had a great time. Next time, I’m getting the burger at Neighborhood first. Everyone said that was their favorite burger in San Diego.

Noble Experiment

(inside Neighborhood Restaurant)

777 G St., San Diego, CA 92101  —  (619) 888-4713

© The Minty 2013