There's no password to get into Noble & Co., West Hartford's new speakeasy-inspired restaurant and bar, but its entrance is deliberately discreet.
Once you pass through its subway-themed vestibule and a nondescript metal door, you're transported to a different era, with glitzy 1920s-style decor featuring plush velvet furniture, glittering chandeliers and rich touches of purple and gold everywhere. The large backlit bar, displaying an enormous collection of spirits, was designed so that it could be seen from anywhere in the dining room, says owner Mike Ladden.
This is where both guests and bar staff get to play: Cocktails are both classic and unique, in categories like "light and low ABV," "shaken and refreshing," "strong and stirred" and "adventurous." The list ranges from a take on a Spanish Kalimoxto (red wine, cola syrup, bitters, cava) and a Noble Mule with Absolut Elyx, St. Germain and cucumber to twists on an Old Fashioned with mezcal, a Pisco Sour with chartreuse and a Coffee Flip, with port, Islay Scotch, lavender, nutmeg, grapefruit zest, whole egg and cream. (Cocktails are $11 to 13.)
Share large-format cocktails ($85) with a group of friends: these serve 4 or more guests, including a Noble Mai Tai with lime wheels and edible flowers, and a Russian Spring Punch with Absolut Elyx, lemon nectar, cream, cassis and prosecco. A "champagne gun," which dispenses bubbly from a magnum bottle, is at the ready for a rollicking party.
Ladden said the cocktails will change frequently, as will the food. "We're constantly developing things behind the scenes. I always like to say that the bartenders are chefs behind the bar."
Beyond the emphasis on premium spirits, Noble & Co. also offers a wide selection of wines and 16 draft beers, a nod to the McLadden Restaurant Group's focus on craft brews at its gastropub next door (and two other locations in Simsbury and Northampton, Mass.) The restaurant recently unveiled an exclusive collaboration beer with New York's Captain Lawrence Brewery.
Noble & Co., 43 Lasalle Road, West Hartford, is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Lunch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. daily, and a daily cafe menu is available from 3 to 6 p.m. and late night. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends; bar is open later. 860-519-1540, noblewh.com.