Bar Beat: Temptations

Go to Temptations on a weekday and you’ll experience the charm that’s made this Asheville bar noted as a low-lit drinking den. Mondays can be a particularly good day for a visit, because of the $5 martini specials (they usually run $9). It’s one of the better deals out there and a great opportunity to try out different, exotic combinations.

Martini time: They’re the specialty here and dirt-cheap on Mondays.

Temptations serves more than 60 different martinis—with such unique concoctions as the Creamsicle (using the glorious Licor 43), the Unpublished Hemingway and the White Spider—so these cocktails are perhaps the place’s strongest suit for an alcohol connoisseur. It’s easy to find new favorites every time you visit, as it was for me on a recent evening: Run, do not walk, there—on a Monday or otherwise—to get a Fireman’s Friend, a Temptations Bloody Mary variant. Spicy drinks have their own special risks (and payoffs), but this one keeps a surprising number of subtle flavors for such a hot drink.

Temptations is also one of the first bars out of the gate to find ways to incorporate Zen Green Tea Liqueur into drinks. They’re mostly going the sweet route thus far, but the earthiness of the liqueur adds an interesting twist. It’s probably not to everyone’s taste, but those who like it will find it fascinating.

Other highlights of the bar are the ever-stylish bartenders and the nightly entertainments, which take place both at Temptations and at the establishment’s downstairs counterpart, The Red Room. Depending on which night you visit, there’s dancing, live performances, karaoke, trivia etc.

The bar attracts a diverse clientele, something that’s made Temptations a personal favorite of mine for years: You never know who you’ll end up in a conversation with here.

Desserts are another of Temptations’ claims to fame, and they certainly go well with several rounds of martinis, helping to cleanse the taste buds. The cheesecake is particularly good for this, and the rich, moist flavor goes well with many of the drink selections.

Temptations is located at 5A Biltmore Ave. Call 252-0775 or visit www.temptationsredroom.com for more information.

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