Friday, June 29, 2012

Rocktop Bar and Grill

The much anticipated Rocktop Bar and Grill, featuring a rooftop bar and hot tubs and rock-n-roll music, has finally opened. It has been marketed as a Las Vegas-style bar and restaurant with a killer comfort-food menu and music that doesn't require bumping and grinding. However, considering the rooftop does have two large hot tubs, I don't think bumping and grinding will totally be out of the picture.

It's located on the roof of the building that formerly housed Dragonfly (it has recently changed locations to 160 Fayette St.) at 241 Chestnut St. You would think this would be a fairly small area, but the bar expands the entire roof of the building and has multiple levels, making it seem larger than life.


They are still in their opening stages, so some areas are definitely half-baked at the moment, including the entrance. There is a large sign draped down the side of the building that says Rocktop, but if you were looking for an entrance, you might get confused. Two bouncers were standing at the entrance of what looked to be a sketchy parking garage and a small sign said "Rocktop now open" was near them. We walked up to them, they checked our IDs (21+ only, folks), and led us to a door. When we opened the door, it was like a different world.

The walls look to be all hand-painted (and incredibly time consuming). As you ascended the three stories worth of stairs, it felt like you were getting ready for a roller coaster ride. There was a speaker up the stairway saying things like "get ready for the time of your life" and things of that sort. Paired with the vibrant, colorful paintings on the wall, I wasn't sure what to expect.

When we finally reached the top, a woman greeted us and asked if we'd like to sit inside or out. We didn't have a preference, but ultimately decided on inside. Our waiter, Cole, was immediately over to take our drink orders and hand us menus.

The long, thin snakeskin print menus did not run the gambit of food options, but the select few all sounded amazing. After a couple of recommendations, I opted to go with their chicken and waffles, while Mel went with the baja tacos. I was really happy she picked something that looked awesome to me, too, because I knew she'd give me a bite.

Our drinks came out in large mason jars, much to my delight. It's not like I drink out of mason jars often, or ever, really. In fact, I didn't even know that was like a "West Virginia" thing until a couple months ago. But I do love the idea of melding this chic, Vegas-style bar with classic West Virginia. Plus they were huge, and I drink a lot when I eat.

While we waited on our food, I glanced around - they have some framed records on the wall from bands like U2 and Dave Matthews. A giant black chandelier with orangeish yellow bulbs was near the bar area, and a bunch of clear bottles had a glowing light underneath it that changed colors. Bar has swag.

Our food was out very quickly and presented on two large plates. The first thing Mel and I did was quickly divy up our portions. She gave me half her tacos, and I gave her half of my chicken & waffles. I'm not sure who won this round, because they were both pretty great.

The chicken and waffles ($16) had two large boneless, southern fried chicken breasts, thick house waffles surrounded in a maple balsamic glaze. It was garnished with three sprigs of asparagus and a buttermilk cheddar biscuit.

What made this dish, for me, was the maple balsamic glaze. It was delicious. The crispy chicken and soft waffle was a good mix of textures, and of course, I like the salty and sweet. The maple balsamic glaze is what gave this dish some more depth and a modern take on this classic comfort food. Do yourself a favor and try something different, it'll pay off.

I loved the "rockin baja tacos" ($14) almost as much, if not more than, the chicken and waffles. It was house-battered tilapia, baja slaw, chipotle pico, cilantro cream all housed in a soft tortilla, with a side of grilled corn on the cob.

Maybe I just have a thing for fish tacos that is being newly discovered? But I love the freshness, the lightness, the cleanliness of these flavors. The crunch of the tilapia with the light, flaky inside with the cool slaw, pico and cream were a perfect combo for the soft tortilla dish.


This dishes aren't totally college-friendly on a budget, but it doesn't hurt to splurge a little every one in a while. Once we finished our plates, we opted for a couple drinks. I went with their
LA Women ($9 - ouch!) which was Grey Goose, Sprite, Lime Juice, and Cocaine. Yep, it says Cocaine. That's actually an energy drink, and I think they're some sort of sponsor of Rocktop. My drink was pink and overall pretty good. You could taste the energy drink in it, which I'm not crazy about, but it was still good. My total was $26. Our awesome server gave us our drinks in plastic cups so we could roam the territory. You wouldn't believer how big this area is.

We left the dining area through double doors and walked around to another bar area near the two large hot tubs. There are some stairs leading around to different parts, and we found a set of chairs that we sat in and chatted while taking in the scenery. It's nice to have a different view of town, and I love people watching and watching the cars go by. We didn't even explore the whole area, but there is a good bit of space here, with some durable chairs and couches spread throughout for some more intimate gatherings.

I noticed there were some young people - donning stilettos and miniskirts - as well as older people with a 50th birthday party going on. As of now, it seems to welcoming of all walks of life. Unfortunately, I think that might change as students come back in town.

As we were leaving, we went down a separate, wider set of stairs that were totally unfinished. That was a little scary, but I'm sure that will be fixed soon enough.

One note: They say their staff is always right ... regardless. That's a joke. That's not how the hospitality industry works, and the condescension does no wonders for this bar. Otherwise, I enjoyed myself, the staff was pleasant, and I think it's a great space. Hopefully it continues this way, and hopefully that "rule" is never put in place.

Grade: A
Rocktop Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon