The Lab Bar and Kitchen, a new Southern-inspired, locally sourced bar and kitchen is now open in Birmingham’s Southside! The Lab Bar and Kitchen is located on the corner of University Boulevard and 20th Street in the Lower Lobby of Hilton Birmingham at UAB.
“We are excited to welcome the community to into The Lab,” said Matthew Comarato, head chef, The Lab Bar and Kitchen. “We aim to make a unique contribution to Birmingham’s culinary scene, particularly here near Five Points. I’m eager to complement the city’s rich cultural, food and beverage scene while maintaining a focus on Alabama ingredients and sources. We’ve worked to create a menu and an experience that will establish The Lab among Birmingham’s most memorable bars and eateries.”
Chef Matthew Comarato leads the team at The Lab Bar and Kitchen. Comarato is a third-generation chef, who began cultivating his culinary talents at the age of 16 in his family’s restaurant. His specialties include French, southern Italian and Southern cooking. Favoring bold flavors, Comarato’s recent experience had him developing menus for country clubs and other fine dining establishments.
“Our place on UAB’s campus inspired the name,” Comarato continued. “The collaborations at UAB have brought about some of the world’s most significant medical breakthroughs. The Lab is a tip of the hat in appreciation to the institution, and we are excited to create a notable dining option on campus for UAB faculty, students and staff. We like to think of our Lab as a collaborative space, as well.”
Lab Bar and Kitchen
With roll-up doors opening onto 20th Street, The Lab is at once a respite and an open environment. The Lab’s interior has a warm and inviting atmosphere, marked by soft lighting and intimate tables. The bar is the centerpiece of the space, with dark wood and metal-framed pillars of green subway tile. Open on three sides, the bar invites visitors into the action of cocktail crafting and beer pouring. The main seating area features whitewashed brick walls complemented by modern, light-diffusing fixtures, completing a space that fosters good conversation over a stellar meal and a thoughtfully crafted beverage. Outdoor seating brings a bistro feel to the space, wrapping around the corner of University onto 20th Street. The Lab Bar and Kitchen is adjacent to Hilton Birmingham at UAB.
Lab Bar and Kitchen Menu
The Lab’s mixologists embrace local spirits, with a cocktail menu crafted to deliver classic Southern flavors with modern combinations. A large rotating selection of Alabama-based craft and micro-beers showcases the greatest stock coming out of Birmingham breweries. The wine offerings include internationally-rated small grower and family owned wineries.
The menu showcases its Southern environs through locally sourced ingredients prepared with a modern twist. Alabama-made cheeses and meats, locally grown produce, fresh Gulf seafood, and Southern-inspired dishes will rotate through the full, seasonal menu.
Sample menu items include: Small bites such as Gulf oysters with cucumber granita and grilled lemon, lump crab cakes with mustard dill sauce, skillet cornbread, b-deviled eggs with fried green tomato and capers and applewood bacon wrapped Gulf shrimp. Larger plates include wagyu sirloin steak with chimichurri sauce, braised pork bucatini, duck leg confit, and shrimp and grits. Seasonal flatbreads and salads round out the menu, along with cobblers, cakes and dumplings for dessert.
Alabama products found on the menu will include: Belle chevre, artisan goat cheese from Elkmont, Conecuh sausage from Evergreen, Pablo’s Pickles from Huntsville, SouthEast Family Farms beef and pork out of Florence, Sea Pearl Gulf shrimp from Bayou La Batre, deli meats from Mr. P’s Deli in Birmingham and beef from Bois d’Arc farm in Uniontown.
The Lab’s local sourcing extends to the dinnerware. Earthborn Pottery of Leeds is outfitting the restaurant with custom designed plates, bowls and other serving pieces. Earthborn has been recognized internationally for their craft, known for experimenting with different glazes and clay types. Earthborn crafts pieces for some of the finest eateries and hotel groups around the country.
A quick-serve restaurant, located next door to The Lab, The Lab Market Café, is scheduled to open in early 2019. The Lab Market Café will serve guests on the go with seasonal, locally sourced gourmet salads, sandwiches and prepared foods, along with a full breakfast service and “Blaze” Coffee bar.
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