Joey: I was excited that Blake chose Bottletree, because even though I’ve been there many (MANY) times before. I normally go to see bands such as The National, Vampire Weekend or TV On The Radio, but had never been there to try their recently reopened lunch offerings. The lunchtime customers proved to be much more diverse than the normal Bottletree concert crowd. There were bros in khakis! At Bottletree! Since Bottletree is known for their vegan options I ordered their Buffalo Tofo wrap. Tofu is not something I eat a lot of, but I do eat a lot of fried things with Buffalo sauce so this felt like a nice compromise. I ordered my food at the bar that is normally reserved for MGDs and PBRs. When ordering, the bartender actually acknowledged my existence, which was a welcome change than my normal wait during shows. I guess it’s easier to see me trying to order in daylight. My Coke tasted a little flat, but it’s also possible that I’m used to the Coke flavor there being compromised with cheap whiskey. The food came quickly and was served very warm. The tofu tasted fine, but I suppose everything does when battered, deep fried, and bathed in Buffalo sauce. I definitely would like to go back to Bottletree to try more of their unique lunch offerings. I would recommend it to anyone looking for vegan/vegetarian options or anyone looking to try something new for lunch Downtown. Overall: 4.5 out of 5 BROS
Brad: While I am a veteran of Bottletree’s live shows, I had never consumed anything other than beer and water while in their confines. I was excited to see if their menu would be comparable to their show lineup. Though a vegan restaurant – something my bros didn’t inform me off until I was seated inside, I was determined to find a selection suitable to my carnivorous palette.
Parking is good at Bottletree, especially at lunch. Upon walking in, I was pleased, if not somewhat surprised, to see about 30 people inside. Bottletree just recently re-opened for lunch, and it was clear many folks were excited to partake. If you haveb’t been to Bottletree, the scenery alone is worth the trip. The myriad paintings by local artists, combined with, shall we say “unique”, pieces of art and old-school records of the ironic variety, is comforting and inspiring. Not into perusing vintage aluminum lunchboxes? Feel free to enjoy the feature film they show on their theater screen (today, it was “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).
But I was already aware of these aspects of Bottletree. The food was a challenge for me. After scouring the menu for something that wasn’t composed of tofu, the options were minimal. I was prepared to order a Buffalo chicken/tofu wrap, when I saw a sign for a fried tilapia sandwich. Boom. Consider me, on this day anyway, a devout pescatarian. Lunch was on. The sandwich was not bad. The roll was the size of a small tire, though, and drowned out the fish. The sweet potato fries were a nice addition, though they weren’t exactly a perfect complement to the tilapia. With a water, I got out of there around $13 bucks.
Bottletree is a great venue to see a show. While the food wasn’t bad, I feel I truly cannot appreciate their offerings because of my tastes. As mentioned previously, it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing places you will encounter. Give it a shot at lunch, provided you’re willing to pay twice the average cover. OVERALL RATING 3 out of 5 Bros
Blake: I’ve never had an opportunity to go to BottleTree for lunch. When we began doing this, it was one of the first places I wanted to go, but alas, they were not serving food during the week. That changed last month, and I eagerly awaited my having the first real opportunity to select America’s greatest indie rock venue for a vegan lunch.
I had long been told about the “Viking Funeral,” a full or half serving of sweet potato fries topped with vegan chili, pimento cheese and chives. I had promised myself I would check out this dish, but upon exploring the menu, there were so many unique things I wish I had been able to also try. In any case, I paired a half order with an order of corn nuggets and washed it down with a water. We ordered at the bar, and I got out of there with a very large order at about $13.
I wasn’t surprised at a courteous staff that I have come to expect, but I will admit I was a little surprised at how fast the service was. The food was absolutely spectacular, and I’m not sure I was hungry again the rest of the day. The Viking Funeral is certainly unique and it lived up to hype and expectation, but the corn nuggets may have been the best corn nuggets I have ever had. The only corn nuggets that are in the ballpark are Niffer’s (of Auburn, Lake Martin). But at BottleTree, they are served with what I believe to be a home made “Southwestern” sauce. THAT was awesome. I’m very eager to return to BottleTree and work through some of the other menu items. It’s the rare week where I was going to often return to this venue regardless of the restaurant experience, but this experience will have me back for more at lunch. I love this place. I love the people. And I love what they do to promote the Birmingham scene. OVERALL RATING 4.5 out of 5 BROS
COMPOSITE BRO SCORE 4 out of 5 BROS