I’ve traveled far and wide in search of a great drink, and a recent road trip took me all the way to West Virginia where I found a hidden gem at a ten-room motel with a full bar and a mid-century lounge. The Billy Motel, located in Davis near Blackwater Falls State Park has some of the best cocktails I’ve tried in years and is absolutely worth the trip!
Owner Joy Malinowski has created a cozy, charming hub for travelers where they can enjoy a craft cocktail and global cuisine at the Ish Kitchen (the name refers to the many different cuisines represented by the small plates on the menu — some are Vietnamese-ish like the grape leaves with ground beef or Mexican-ish — the fantastic street corn). My favorites were the grilled shishito peppers and the Pāo de Queijo cheese puffs.
The drinks on the menu include the classics such as an Old Fashioned, a Sidecar and a Kentucky Mule, but I tried a couple of the seasonal specials. The Hill Billy Tini was a take on a classic dirty martini. You can choose vodka or gin (I chose gin, obviously) and the best part is the house-stuffed blue cheese olives (because what’s better than a delicious snack in your glass?).
Next, I tried the Electric Pink, which is a gin and tonic with a house made beet-basil shrub that gives it its unique hot pink color. Malinowski told me that she lets the bartenders come up with the drink recipes and that since waste is the enemy in restaurants, they make their own shrubs and syrups in the Ish Kitchen.
“We get some beautiful produce from surrounding farms and neighbors so we try and use it anyway we can,” she said. “The kitchen also makes kombucha out of surplus produce and herbs, like basil and mint. Beets and beet tops are a favorite because they are such a strong flavor and dramatic color. Ginger and pepper root are a great match for tequila — the Pepper Root Margarita is hugely popular.”
Best of all The Billy Motel & Bar is a laid back, friendly place where you can relax, make new friends and take in the stunning mountains and scenery. Being here you get the feeling that this is a place for locals where travelers are welcome. The regulars are excited to tell you about the town of Davis, the waterfalls or where to get the best ice cream. Stay the night or just stop by for a drink or a meal, relax by the fireplace and strike up a conversation. I promise it will be worth the trip!
The Billy Motel & Bar is located at 1080 William Ave., in Davis, West Virginia 304-851-6125. Motel guests 21+ get their first drink free.