Bernard's Tavern opened in the Short North about five days ago. It is a bar with a good selection of craft beer alongside a full-service kitchen that offers a melange of vegetarian options on its menu.
The interior of Bernard's is brick and dark wood. There are six or eight flat screen televisions tuned to sports. The staff is friendly and attentive. Bernard's is open from lunch through 10 pm.
My starter was the Kentucky classic, fried banana peppers. The stem and seeds were removed from the peppers, which were then beer battered and served with a side of Thousand Island Dressing. The dressing adds a sweet note to the mild peppers. Although they were tasty, the peppers were slightly greasy and could have used a pinch more breading. Overall, they weren't perfect, but they were still pretty good.
The veggie burger, on the other hand, was a success on all levels. It was topped with red peppers, chopped portabella mushrooms, crumbled goat cheese, garlic chili aioli, lettuce, tomato and onion on a whole grain bun. The burger patty from local outfit Luna Burger showed nice griddle marks and was cooked very well. The side of Cajun fries was a spicy complement to the sandwich. They were redolent of both black and red pepper.
Other veggie options on the menu include a house salad, vegan black bean soup, hummus, soft pretzels with dips, baked macaroni and cheese, and a variety of other side dishes. They have French fries in plain, ranch, Cajun and sweet potato varieties. Dessert is a giant cookie served hot with ice cream.
The bar looks very nice. Beer options include Goose Island Matilda, a Belgian-style pale ale, Allagash White (which kicks the snot out of Blue Moon), Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale, Rogue Dead Guy and Bluegrass Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Ale. Bernard's also has a solid selection of bottled beer and high-proof options. The happy hour specials are similar to Bodega (half priced beer from 4-8 pm).
Bernard's is a cool neighborhood spot that has the extra bonus of a decent selection of vegetarian items. I'll have to return to check the place out at game time.