When The Montford Rooftop Bar at the new downtown Hyatt Place hotel debuted on Aug. 25, it joined what appears to be a new trend in Asheville of offering rooftop venues for eating and drinking. Who can say why it took so long for the concept to take hold here, but with the recent openings of new rooftop patios at Highland Brewing Co. and the Hilton Garden Inn, it certainly has become the summer of al fresco experiences.
The Montford’s 53-seat bar has a classic, lodge-like feel, with earth-toned fabrics, natural woodgrains, leather and exposed brick. The colors pair nicely with the views of blue ridges, green trees and bursting orange and yellow sunsets. With the patio facing west, it might prove to be one of the clearest, most unobstructed views of the mountains from downtown. It isn’t one of those vistas interrupted by the sprawling decay of rooftop air conditioning units and fire escapes. Instead, guests can see the hint of bridges on the highway and catch a glimpse of the roofs of houses in the distance, all wrapped up in green trees that fade to blue and purple mountains.
As for the cocktails, beverage director Paul Peffer offers a carefully curated list. The signature Montford mule is a variation on the classic Moscow mule, this time pairing Covington vodka, Amaro Montenegro, ginger, black tea, sorghum and lime. For those wanting something fruity, the Black Mountain mai tai combines rum with flavors of blackberry, almond, cinnamon and lemon. And for the more adventurous, there’s the Boonie & Clyde, made with scotch, amaro and Lillet. Prices range from $11-$14.
“A lot of my drinks draw from tiki influences. Having something a little more whimsical up here with the views and keeping it kind of light hearted is the idea.” Says Peffer, “But that being said, we still want to keep it interesting and challenge people’s palates a little bit.”
The food menu leans heavily on shared plates and smaller bites from chef Philip Bollhoefer, formerly a chef at the Edison at the Grove Park Inn. Offerings lean heavily on local products and partnerships with local farms and the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project. Items such as the boiled-peanut hummus, deviled eggs with Sunburst Farms trout roe and oysters with Wicked Weed sour beer gel all tip a hat to the South without using it as a crutch. Or as Peffer explains, “We’re trying to do stuff with a local flair, but not necessarily married to Southern cuisine.”
The Montford Rooftop Bar is at 199 Haywood St. Hours are 4-11 p.m. Sunday -Thursday and 4 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays.