Magazine Article: I Like It (Like That)

Magazine Article: I Like It (Like That)


The spirited team behind a new cocktail and wine bar is hoping you like it like that.

I Like It Like That opened in March at Natalie's Grandview (945 King Avenue). A popular Chris Kenner song inspired the establishment's name. If you look up this tune with its New Orleans vibe, you may just find yourself humming it for the rest of the day:

Come on (come on, let me show you where it's at)/The name of the place is 'I like it like that.'

"It's the new happening spot," said Lindsay Koontz, one of the establishment’s managers and cocktail creators.

She collaborates closely with co-manager Genevieve Johnson, who also goes by "G." The duo has teamed up with executive chef Megan Hodges and sous chef Dustin Mustard to produce an array of culinary delights that extend beyond beverages alone.

Together, they meticulously crafted a new experience they hope will have a lasting and positively provocative impact on the capital city for people of all stripes.

As you step inside, you'll discover three cozy rooms. The green room, with its dimmed lighting, sets the tone for a serene date night.

"It's adorned with plants; we call that our 'Zen' room," Koontz said. "So if you have a date night and you want it to be intimate and calm, that's where you're going to want to sit. There's beautiful furniture in there. It's relaxing, calming, and even a little seductive."

Hodges said the room serves even more than one-on-one couples trying to establish or grow connections.

"We have this huge table that sits six," she said. "Since it's sometimes used as a community table, it has this nice vibe. There's an opportunity to talk to people around you and meet strangers because that's a concept that a lot of us have forgotten: meeting people in public."

Move on to the blue room, and you'll be greeted by a vintage Aardvark Video sign. It's a throwback to one of the first businesses owned by Natalie's co-owner Charlie Jackson.

Koontz described the blue room as "vintage and funky."

"There's little clues hidden around," she said. "If you happen to read one of the pictures in there, you'll find clues to a treasure chest, but you have to pay attention to the details."

And if you're looking for a drink, step into the pink room, where you'll discover the bar and its large pendant lights.

“A lot of people who come in keep saying that it's just fun and comfortable. It makes you want to stay, you want to linger," she said.

Both the architecture and design of I Like It Like That are the brainchild of Christina Colucci, and her company, ALIGN.

"Her vision transformed what was a junk room into something truly special," said Natalie Jackson, co-owner of Natalie's. "Being able to collaborate with my best friend on this space for me personally was very rewarding."

Koontz said, "Natalie puts intention behind everything she does, whether it's the time she takes to find meaningful wall decor, to the Aardvark video reference, to the hiring of New-York based architect and creative Christina Colucci to map out the design."

"When she brought myself and Genevieve on, she wanted the same amount of care and consideration to be implemented into the space," she continued. "We pride ourselves on creating innovative and inventive cocktails that not only taste good but create a memorable experience."

As part of that experience, G said the team wanted a strong focus on "interdisciplinary community."

"Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday will be available for anyone and everyone to pitch ideas to us for events and pop-ups," she said. "We want to have a connection to our community as a whole, not just the service industry.” 

That includes the environment.

"Our goal is to be as eco-friendly as we can through composting, glass bottle pulverizing, cardboard recycling, aluminum can recycling, and low-produce waste, like using all of the lemon, not just the juice or peels, even though whatever waste we have is composted," she said.

Another big goal is for the space to offer a strong sense of inclusion and dial down the "stuffy" vibe often attached to the term "cocktail bar." But there are more cocktails to be sipped. An array of wines are also ripe for consumption. 

"Lauren Noel is our sommelier, and she killed it," G said. "Our wine list is all small production and low intervention, which means the creators care deeply about their product and the environment. We made an effort to get as many female winemakers on our menu as possible."

"Our wine is great with food, and we even have some we like to call 'pizza wine', like the txakoli!" she added.

Overall, there is a wide assortment of drinks to choose from, including 'Four Roses…How About Five?' It features rosé tequila, rosa vermouth, rose water, and sparkling rose. You'll also find 'Big Hands, I Know You're The One' with drumshanbo vodka, tamarind guild gin, chocolate habanero pepper, vermouth blend, agave, and bubbles.

Other drinks include 'Where's the Dog?' — which features tequila, mango, lime, and a spicy tincture.

Of course, that's just a quick, small glimpse at the delicious, unusual, and uniquely named offerings you'll discover on the menu.

But those names aren't quite as random as you might think: Just like there are hidden clues in the blue room, cultural references abound throughout the menu.

"We have a reference to art; we have a reference to a TV show; everything is a reference," said Genevieve. "We even have a reference to Megan (Hodges) on our menu–The Bahn Megs pizza. Everything's intentional and everything was thought out and very specifically chosen."

Such references can make for excellent conversation fodder, and your bartender or the other staff members will be happy to explain.

Hodges showered Dustin Mustard, their sous chef, with credit and praise for the menu.

(Well, the cuisine on the menu. If you pick up the menu itself, you'll find it adorned with eye-catching designs. That's the work of Koontz.)

"Dustin's super creative," Hodges said. "It's fun to collaborate on a menu of shareable items to eat with other people. A lot of the kitchen staff collaborated with us because we all sat down and ate together and shared ideas."

Plates include samosa masala, which is a Thai samosa with masala and pickled cauliflower. There's also seasonal arancini, which features crispy risotto balls, cheddar and cream cheese, jalapeno, jam, and crispy bacon.

By no means an exhaustive list, other features include chicken nayarit, which is grilled orange, koki's tortillas, and sriracha mayo. There's also las maravillas skirt steak, featuring plantain, cilantro chimichurri, and bravas on the menu.

Hodges said, “We have three of Natalie's fan-favorite pizzas on the menu, but we also have two completely different ones if you're feeling pizzas, but not your traditional pizza.”

One is the Black Phillip pizza, which features shiitake bacon, goat cheese, blackberry chipotle, mozzarella, caramelized onion, arugula, and almonds. The other is the previously mentioned Bahn Megs, which includes hoisin soy, marinated tofu, carrot, jalapeno, pickled onion, and cilantro. 

I Like it Like That's kitchen is open until 10 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. (They are closed Sundays through Tuesdays.) Their late-night hours run until midnight on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

For those with late-night cravings, their "smacks" are available until close, which includes purple puppy chow (chex, pretzels, chocolate, and peanut butter), duck fat popcorn (truffle butter, grana padano and black pepper), along with char "cutie" (daily selection of cured meats artisanal cheese, appropriate garnishes).

Hodges said the purple puppy chow “is just a snack you can order if you don't feel like drinking, but you're like … I want something.”

You don't have to be deeply entrenched in the cocktail or culinary world to understand what's most appealing on the menu. A glossary at the back of the menu is a helpful guide for patrons. (Look for the small crowns peppered throughout the menu that signal you to consult the glossary.)

This thoughtful addition ensures that even those unfamiliar with certain liqueurs can gain an understanding of what will be the best match for their palette.

"This is for everybody," Koontz said. "We want you to understand the menu. We want you to ask questions, and we want you to know what you're ordering and if you're going to like it or not. We really try to make it a safe, cozy space that is inviting for everyone, where you're there to have a good time, and you're there to feel like, OK, this is my spot."

And G agreed.

"You don't need to be specifically in the mood for something because when you come in, everything is so different,” G added. "We can find something for you."

And there are more offerings for you on the horizon.

"In the future, we will be open to hosting events for artists, musicians, guest bartenders, and chefs—anyone who has a creative drive and needs a space to showcase it," Koontz said. "We put our hearts and souls into this place and hope it's communicated through the space's food and drinks, atmosphere, and overall energy."

And so far, everyone seems to like it like that.

Follow @ilikeitlikethat_bar on Instagram to get the inside scoop on all things food & cocktail related at this new bar.

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