Some of us fondly remember the dingy, homey (and homely) Sufak's Round Corner, at the corner of 37th and Butler streets in Lawrenceville, as a place where the drinks were always painfully cheap and never left empty long.
So, the bar's new iteration as part of the glamorous Lower Lawrenceville (a.k.a. LoLa) is a tiny bit jarring. But only a tiny bit.
Now re-christened The Round Corner Cantina, the venue became the absolutely perfect new summer spot during its first months open. Imbibers still enjoyed one of the finest features of the old bar -- the granddad's backyard-style patio -- as well the few tables out front on Butler Street. It's nonsmoking inside, but there are plans for outside heaters on the patio to keep smokers from becoming puffsicles in the winter.
The interior has been gorgeously done over -- gone is the Steelers clock, in favor of rich wood paneling and cantina-kitsch metal chandeliers. For nibblers, a menu of veggie- and omnivore-friendly fare is available.
But the cocktails alone are worth stopping in for. A really interesting array of drinks is served in cool old mason jars, adding to the rustic-hip vibe.
There are margaritas, of course, but why not branch out in south-of-the-border mixed drinks? Try Brazil's signature caipirhina, a sweet-but-potent concoction made from cachaca, a sugar-cane alcohol. Round Corner's sangria, a fruity wine mix, is fresh and made in-house. A bourbon-based sweet tea makes one feel awfully genteel. Likewise, the classic British gin-based standard, Pimm's Cup, is also on offer. Intriguing ingredients such as muddled red peppers, mint and basil added to cocktails make the libations far from ordinary.
Each Monday, the bar puts a different beer on special for those who have two-wheeled it to the bar. Bike in and get a selected brew for two bucks.
While the bar does tend to get packed, and can put out a bit of a see-and-be-seen vibe, never forget we're still in Pittsburgh. Steelers games will be broadcast in the bar all season long. Ignore this last vestige of the old Sufak's at your peril.
3720 Butler St., Lawrenceville