Aztec Appetite: West Coast Tavern is ideal for North Park lovers

by Jennifer Bowman

The Pistachio Custard Bread Pudding at West Coast Tavern is an unique and flavorful dessert.

The first time I tried the West Coast Tavern was earlier this year — St. Patrick’s Day.

It was fairly crowded, but somehow I was able to enjoy a lively atmosphere with food that far exceeded my expectations. It had everything there is to love about North Park. I became an instant fan.

And that was before I finally noticed the bright vintage cinema lights at the entrance.

I returned to the venue yesterday, an 82-year-old building shared with the historic Birch North Park Theatre. But nothing about this Mid-City hotspot, located on University Avenue between Kansas Street and 29th Street, exudes “old” at all.

Its interior is quite modern, donned with espresso wood, a sleek bartop and flat-screen TVs. A displayed typewriter and deep red walls may be the only indication of its theme of “old world luxuries,” as described by its website.

What may be most contemporary about the tavern is its innovative menu. Its happy four — $3 draft beers and well drinks, plus $5 food specials — will let you enjoy many of the West Coast Tavern’s items without breaking your pockets.

The food specials included a Spinach Salad with a grilled onion vinaigrette (it’s as good as it sounds), Ale Battered Onion Rings and a popular favorite, the Five Spiced Chicken Wings.

My favorite? The original and savory Angus Chuck Beef Sliders — smothered with garlic aioli, manchego cheese and a caramelized onion jam.

If you want to do it right, remember to save room for desert. The Pistachio Custard Bread Pudding is flawlessly amazing.

For those countless restaurants and bars that line University Avenue, standing out is a must and decisions for North Park lovers are sometimes hard to make. Luckily the West Coast Tavern — even without its flashy cinema signs — shines on its own.

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