Smile Politely

Try some libations and take in the atmosphere at Gallery Art Bar

A coupe glass with a golden yellow drink in front of a white wall with projected starbursts.
Carolyn Thomas

Gallery Art Bar located in Downtown Urbana has a great Urbana vibe! I recently went there to try some libations and check out the atmosphere. Before I continue, I must disclaim that I went with a group, and they were gracious enough to allow me to try all of the orders.

The bar has a tortured artist ambience and was quite eclectic inside. They have quite a few community events and a stage for performances. The walls were decorated with art for sale and a projection of stars. There was a long banquet of seating against one wall, and the bar was situated on the other wall. There was a diverse mix of music playing in the bar during our visit. 

Friends, we tried many things, so many things! Before I get into all of the beverages, it is notable that all drinks can be created zero-proof.

A rocks glass with a two-toned drink: the top is purple and the bottom is orange.
April-cot #3: Flowers at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

One of the April specials was the April-cot #3: Flowers ($8). This beverage was quite interesting with a floater of apricot ale. It had a wonderful purple hue due to the pea flower. The elderflower was evident in the aftertaste. The drink was not sweet and had a sour background at first. When the purple floater was depleted, the drink was sweeter. Unfortunately, the edible flower was not available as a garnish. I enjoyed the drink as it wasn’t too heavy, perfect for the day!

A rocks glass with a small portion of the rim salted has a yellow liquid in it.
Heart of Agave Margarita at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

Heart of Agave Margarita ($10) containing alcohol was on point. There was just a bit of salt on a portion of the rim. It was very balanced with a nice lime flavor and good amount of agave. The bitters added an extra background note on it, so the drink’s tequila was barely discernible. It was a very, very good margarita. 

The paloma drink has a light pink-orange liquid with a triangular spread of Tajin beside a lime wedge.
at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

Friends, this paloma ($12) was great! It was light, fresh, and smooth with just a touch of salt and Tajin on the rim. The bitters were present but only served to enhance the flavor.

A rocks glass with an orange liquid, square ice, and a toothpick with two dark cherries.
Old fashioned at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

I am not an old-fashioned type of person. After trying the CHicago old fashioned ($14) that still rings true for me; however, I could discern that this was a very well-balanced, alcohol-forward beverage. It had a nice cinnamon aftertaste. 

A tall glass with a yellow liquid ona counter that has a blue elephant tapestry behind it.
Meadowbrook delight at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

The only non-alcoholic beverage we ordered, the Meadowbrook delight ($8) came in a highball glass with a mint leave and lemon twist. It had an almost creamy flavor, possibly due to the tea. This drink was very smooth, very orange forward with a pineapple note. It was not overly sweet, and we did comment that the whole drink was subtle. 

A coupe glass with a golden yellow drink in front of a white wall with projected starbursts.
Bee’s Knees at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

I’m a sucker for gin and love a good Bees Knees ($12.00). This one was a great version. It was very good, very smooth with a slight lavender flavor. The lemon came through perfectly balanced with the honey, lavender and gin. Delicious!

A glass with an orange liquid and no ice with a lime wedge on the rim.
Wacki daiquiri at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

We had to try the take on rum punch with a fun name, Wacki Daiquiri ($12). It was quite mellow, lime forward but still pineapple-y. The tiki bitters intrigued me, and they added a nice spiced undertone to the drink.

A glass with a dark espresso martini and three coffee beans floating on top.
Espresso martini at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

One of our group can never resist the espresso martini when it is offered. The CHicago espresso martini ($9) was a very good iteration of the drink. It was extremely smooth, made with fresh espresso, no cream element, and barely sweet. At $9, this was a steal and highly recommended!

A coupe glass with an espresso cocktail in front of a menu.
Love, Satellite at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

Another coffee drink on offer, the Love, Satellite ($14) was very good, and I dare say, better than the espresso martini. It tasted like a chocolate martini and espresso martini had a baby. The hellfire bitters added a nice bite on the back end of the flavor. 

A mug with foam and little petals on top.
Flower moon at Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Carolyn Thomas

The flower moon cocktail ($12) interested me. It was served hot! It would be a good nightcap after a long day. It was soothing with a bit of lavender and eucalyptus flavor. The rye was barely discernible — approved by me, as that is also not my favorite alcohol.

Overall, our visit to Gallery Art Bar was a good experience. The bar chairs were very comfortable, and it didn’t feel like we were there for the length of time we were visiting. There are a number of other things on the menu that were intriguing. I would definitely visit again to try something new! Though the bar does not have a full food menu, they do offer a few desserts by BakeLab and bags of chips, but customers are welcome to bring in outside food.

Check out Gallery’s website here.

Gallery Art Bar
119 West Main Street
W+Th 5 p.m. to midnight
F 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Sa noon to 1 a.m.

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