Honestly we all just seemed happy to have a kid-free meal out, our group of four longtime friends — two couples — eating food someone else made and drinking drinks someone else poured. But Liberty Call Distilling Co. in Barrio Logan is worth the short trip over the bridge by far.
This little, modern enclave offered convenient parking, a bustling environment, plus its tasty California version of tapas in addition to their distilled spirits.
Veteran-owned as well as operated by friends, the business shares they know everyone should have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And they believe happiness is a delicious meal and cocktail with loved ones.
Their menu focuses on high quality ingredients, both edible and drinkable. They also share how they were inspired by whiskey, bourbon and moonshine. From the idea of a small still to a big one, research trips, and talks with experts, as well as their own expertise — these things combined to make up their ability to enter the region’s distillery scene.
A festive, tropical-themed patio party Friday night led to a lull in figuring out where to sit, order and how everything worked. But things quickly looked up to louder chats paired with friendly, informed service.
We ordered two flights of four spirits, asking the bartender for eight of his recommendations. The Doublewood Very Small Batch Bourbon has a smokiness everyone enjoyed, and the Blue Ridge Whiskey is balanced and smooth. (You can trust my reporting more since one member of our party has bartending and mixology experience, and he’s both skilled and down-to-earth.)
He also helped me pinpoint how the cocktail menu is a no frills take on classics that provides an approachable introduction to house-made spirits, not even bothering with garnishes. We grabbed The Torpedo, Jungle Bird, Speak of the Devil and Mexican Firing Squad. And we took joy in our flavorful, icy sips.
Catching up with each other in an open-air, welcoming environment is a wonderful thing in a place that seems to value that sense of community and some new takes on dining and distilling. With a nice view as the sun goes down.
We all pondered the menu and decided on the Chips con Queso & Salsa Verde, nachos as well as steak and vegetarian tacos with slow-cooked and pan-seared jack fruit, Greek Salad Bowl, and Barrio Bowl with the tilapia catch of the day (Cajun seasoned and grilled). The vegetarian in our group loved that all the distillery’s mains had an option for a vegetarian protein which opened up the whole menu. It’s rare to be able to order everything, she said.
The queso was easily extinguished throughout the evening, the salsa fresh and jack fruit full of rich flavor. The tacos and nachos also went down easy too, and the Barrio Bowl is a filling pile of greens, pinquito beans (which remind me of lentils), quinoa, veggies including radishes, avocado and two generous slabs of the seasoned white fish. An ordered side of queso fresco topped it off. Plus the Tzatziki dressing on the colorful Greek salad is creamy, crisp and zesty. We didn’t spring for dessert but they offer tempting churros and vanilla ice cream.
I wanted to try one of everything on the menu as we sat looking at the bridge through the garage-door-like opening if my stomach, liver and wallet could handle it. Head there after work this week or weekend and see for yourself. Or pop by for a lunch special or special attraction like trivia night.
Follow Liberty Call on their social media channels @LibertyCallDistillingCompany on Facebook and @libertycalldistilling on Instagram, and learn more about their company via their website including details about their story, the Spring Valley distillery, and hours of operation. You can also make reservations for larger parties, and order pick-up or delivery of their food and bottles. Check out more about their bridgeworthy events and deals here.
Liberty Call Distilling Co.
1985 National Ave., Suite 1131
San Diego, CA 92113