Bars in restaurants is a very American thing. In the Middle East? No so much. So when owners Racha and Wassef Haroun opened their Lebanese and Syrian restaurant five years ago this month, not having a bar space was normal. Traditional, even. But as of today a new sleek, low-profiled addition anchors Mamnoon's dining room as a beacon of booze.
The concrete-and-wood bar has about a dozen seats where diners can perch and sip new cocktails, such as one with fresh thyme, a housemade thyme tincture, and Sun Liquor gin. Or, keep it classic with the Old Beirut made with bourbon, angostura bitters, walnut liqueur, and fig— a drink that's been on the menu for all of Mamnoon's five years.
While you can order from the full dinner menu, there's no specific bar food menu as of yet. "We have like, seven menus already," laughs Mamnoon's executive chef Carrie Mashaney. But the restaurant might naturally roll out a menu later on, perhaps with a requisite bar burger, she jokes.
What Mashaney's particularly excited about is the possibility of hosting a chef's table there. Mamnoon's kitchen, tucked in the corner isn't too well suited for chef-diner interaction. But Mashaney misses making those connections. She remembers her tenure at Spinasse, where for five years she'd answer questions that really made her reflect as a chef. So, somewhere down the road get hopeful about a special tasting menu two nights a week with Mashaney as your Mamnoon sherpa. "Some chefs don't want to be out there, but I'm like, Hi! Here I am!"