I like this place a lot. Comfortable chairs, pleasant space. Four taps, many bottles, lots of liquor. The downstairs is non-smoking, the upstairs, smoking, and downstairs, you'd never even know that there's a smoking section. Upstairs also has a tiny pool table. The wide-open downstairs affords lots of people watching. I'm told it gets loud when it's full, but I have yet to see it full.
The food is very good, though some of the flavorings are not conventionally Levantine. My one complaint was this evening's shorba, my favorite, a red lentil soup redolent of cumin and lemon, was also newly redolent of onions. Sigh. Our hummus was heavily tahini-ed, and for those spoiled by Karam and YaHala and Nicolas, the pita is not fresh and pillowy and full of hot air. That didn't stop us from inhaling it, natch. But the entrees are pure pleasure, with all the sandwiches coming on a Bosnian roll called lepina. Baba's burger is a painted hills patty with feta and my new favorite thing, lemon aioli—the combination of beef, garlic, salty feta and lemon is so nice. Chicken jemila is a chicken breast marinated in sumac, encrusted in zaatar, and nestled in the lepina—yum. Timman u Marag, a chickpea stew, with a side of laban (youghurt and cucumber)—yum. It's clear that they are taking care on some of the details: the tomatoes served were romas, gorgeous, and with some tomatoey flavor. All in all, good food and a tremendous value in or out of happy hour.