Tuesday, July 7, 2020

New Riff's Popup "Riff Top" Rooftop:

What do you even say about 2020 at this point? It’s undoubtedly the weirdest year we’ve experienced, ever.

New Riff (20 of 26)

Mask Game On-Brand

All my races are cancelled or moved to virtual events (though I did manage to barely squeak in a marathon in Little Rock in March), I’m singing karaoke on the balcony with an online app (sorry neighbors), and David’s sporting a very impressive quarantine hairstyle.

We’ve been extra vigilant because David is in the high-risk category as a transplant recipient under immunosuppression — indoor dining and socializing is absolutely out of the question — and we’ve got a nice mask collection in progress.

Our abundant caution means that very few opportunities to get out meet all of our criteria, so when I got a very thoughtful PR pitch (always appreciated as a fellow marketer) about the rooftop situation at New Riff, we discussed it and decided to visit.

New Riff (1 of 26)

New Riff (23 of 26)

In the interests of multi-tasking, we were overdue for a Party Source trip anyway. Side note: we highly recommend the online ordering and curbside pickup option at the Party Source. It’s quick, easy, and if you don’t see something in the online catalog, a quick call will usually turn it up.

New Riff’s “Riff Top” has a simple, but thoughtful setup. There are no reservations. It’s a first come, first serve, model, with limited and carefully controlled capacity. Plexiglass barriers, social distancing markers and hand sanitizer are plentiful. Names and contact information are taken at the door for potential tracing needs.

New Riff (16 of 26)

New Riff (12 of 26)

We staked out a spot at the far (far) end of the rooftop, scanned the menu from a QR code on a table tent, and went about ordering some beverages and dips.

New Riff (6 of 26)
I wanna be ... where the people aren't

We started with New Riff’s version of a tiki classic, the Painkiller, dubbed “Everybody Hurts.” If you don’t like bourbon, this is the cocktail for you. Sweet and fruity, this reminded us of one of our favorite punches to make at parties.

New Riff (14 of 26)
Remember parties???

I also sampled the Kentucky Mule, which is a fairly potent potable, so recommend letting the ice melt a bit in this one to enjoy fully.

New Riff (26 of 26)

David also tried the Okey Dokey Artichokey, made with artichoke infused New Riff gin, Cocchi Americano and Cynar artichoke liqueur.  This Negroni-style cocktail was refreshing with a pleasantly heavy bitterness that worked well with the snacks.

Dips are served with a variety of Blue Oven offerings — focaccia, pretzels and chips — all up to the usual high Blue Oven standard. David liked the pimento cheese dip the best, while I preferred the sun dried tomato tapenade. The spinach and artichoke dip was also solid, and the most scoopable with the chips. We also appreciated that everything was dated with the day it was made.

New Riff (5 of 26)

New Riff (15 of 26)

New Riff (18 of 26)

While we were on the rooftop, staff regularly were making rounds to commonly touched surfaces, disinfecting door handles while keeping their distance from patrons. Everyone wore gloves and masks (the RIGHT way, over their noses) the entire time and were very conscious of giving us plenty of space when bringing us our drinks or taking our orders.

Is this situation normal? No. But then again, this year isn’t either. It’s like a Cards Against Humanity deck version of Jumanji. We sincerely appreciated the chance to get out for the first time in (quite literally) months and the care and attention to detail New Riff has put into keeping guests and staff safe. So place a curbside pickup for some quarantine provisions, mask up, and check out the Riff Top! It will be open Friday and Saturdays through July, and if you like the cocktails you try, they even have larger formats to-go.

New Riff (8 of 26)
Enjoy some views with your booze

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