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New Smallman Galley Cocktail Menu Pays Homage to The Royal Tenenbaums

The Strip District food hall's late-summer drinks menu riffs on the Wes Anderson cult classic.

photo courtesy smallman galley

Every year, Smallman Galley’s bar team selects a different movie to riff on. This year, they’ve chosen Wes Anderson’s 2001 cult classic, "The Royal Tenenbaums." The film is about the gathering of an eccentric family and stars Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. Enter The Royal Tenenbar. 

“Wes Anderson obviously fits our aesthetic very well here. That, sort of, curated absurdity,” says bar manager Matt Zelinsky. 

Anderson’s films are known for being highly colorful, design-forward and, at times, almost painfully twee. The bar team wanted to design cocktails that would fit into that world. “A whole lot of whimsy went into this menu. A lot of really fun presentation and ingredients,” says Zelinsky.

The bar menu takes the form of a DVD case, with a reproduction of the original cover photo starring each member of Smallman’s bar staff as a member of the original cast. “All of this on a $50 thrifting budget,” says Zelinsky, gesturing at the array of tracksuits and heavy-framed glasses.

Each cocktail is named for a facet of the movie, many of them puns, some deeper cuts from the film than others. The Friscalating Dusklight, a gin cocktail with a nettle tea cordial, is named for the last line of a poem recited by Owen Wilson’s character, while The Fairest of the Seasons, a Boyd and Blair vodka cocktail that tastes like a guava soda and is served in a glass milk carton, is named for the soundtrack. (Zelinsky estimates around 40 percent of the milk cartons have already walked out the doors with some sticky-fingered guests, so prepare to slap down a $20 deposit.) The Sinking Battleship, named by Zelinsky as a joke about its projected low sales, is a wine cocktail with Domaine Brunet pinot noir, Cynar, Atxa rojo vermouth, homemade blueberry liqueur, honey and bitters. It’s served up, with small orange peel cut-outs of moons and stars. 

Along with fun and whimsy, the menu also features a charity cocktail, the Sanriiia Gasolina with rose, Maggie’s Farm rum, elderflower, passion fruit and bitters. A dollar from each sale of this cocktail will be donated to Humane Animal Rescue. Guests have until October to taste through the menu.

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