New Tavern strongholds: Barley Swine, Black Star Co-op, 24 Diner
Crowded, hot and loud, just like a tavern, with a beer selection that behaves like a wine list. But no other tavern has food like this: pasta stuffed with smoked fish, grilled squash with goat cheese and pancetta, feather-crisp Brussels sprouts, scallops with shellfish butter and white asparagus. That's because no other tavern has 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef winner Bryce Gilmore. 2024 S. Lamar Blvd. 394-8150, www.barleyswine.com .
Black Star Co-op
A progressive, worker-owned brewpub with respectable in-house and in-state beer taps. Simple snack plates set high expectations: mix-and-match combos of housemade or well-sourced charcuterie, pickled vegetables and cheeses with smart condiments. Bar foods like fish and chips, chili and even beer nuts bear the artisanal mark of the earnest overachiever. 7020 Easy Wind Drive. 452-2337, www.blackstar.coop .
The Venn diagram for 24 would have a circle marked "diner" and another labeled "bar." Separately, those wouldn't qualify as New Tavern. But look at the shaded area where the Venn circles overlap: There's a cocktail made with Tito's vodka and ginger liqueur, seasonal taps for microbrews, roasted chicken with shallot jus and a cheese plate from Antonelli's. That's the beauty of New Tavern: Respect the basics, and we'll find a shady place in our diagram for you. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 472-5400, www.24diner.com .