Everyone who mourned the closing of Sonny’s, Jay Villani’s Latin-themed restaurant on lower Exchange Street can breathe easy—Black Cow is now open, and the bar remains functionally the same. The food, however, is completely different with a focus on hamburgers, ice cream, and sodas. Those who enjoyed cozying up to Sonny’s large bar and ordering a creative cocktail will be pleased to see Black Cow has a list that rivals Sonny’s in its inventiveness.
Black Cow offers counter service, so you place your order at the register that greets you when you walk in. Other than a fresh paint job and some new stools, the decor hasn’t changed dramatically, leaving the soaring ceilings and exposed brick of the former bank to speak for itself.
I ordered a hamburger and fries at the counter, then snagged a seat at the bar to enjoy the True Romance ($10) with Plantation pineapple rum, Chartreuse, lime and sugar. It was crushable, just as the menu said it would be.
Other drinks that caught my eye included the Hardshore gin fizz; When Doves Cry with chili-infused tequila, ginger syrup, Campari, and grapefruit; and the Shirley Temple of Doom with rum, lime, ginger, pineapple, and a housemade grenadine. The tap list has 12 beers, most of them Maine breweries from Bissell Brothers to Barreled Souls. There’s a large number of housemade sodas like blood orange crush and Brooklyn egg cream.