On an unassuming corner in Arcata, behind a bank of frosted glass, and through an ornate, heavy, wooden door, is something bohemian and modestly bacchanalian. In the cozy and hip-but-not-pompous confines of Richard's Goat Tavern and Tea Room (401 I St.), afternoon light falls in muted colors through the high stained glass windows.
That's a perfect time to belly up for a one of the tavern's cocktails made from house infused liquors. Start with the Marsh Fog ($8.50), an effervescent mix of Earl-Grey-infused vodka, lemon, vermouth and champagne, poured over a sugar cube in a champagne flute. The crisp, dry sparkling wine is gently bolstered by the liquor, and its sweetness is toned down by the lingering Earl Grey flavor. It's a perfect sunny day cocktail, despite the name — put the drink in a ray of light and watch the bubbles flurry from the sugar cube. If you're enjoying the subtle tea notes, pair it with the house-made Earl Grey panna cotta ($5).
Slightly more adventurous is the verging-on-fiery Moscow Goat ($9), a robust concoction of tangerine-ginger infused vodka, ginger beer, orange bitters and a squeeze of lime served in a burly mason jar. While the ginger's piquant, it's sweet, too, and might call for one of the rotating savory bites the tavern offers.
Richard's Goat offers a variety of teas, for those looking for a less intoxicating experience, and a beer list to please any brew nerd. As if the mellow comfort of the bar isn't enough, Richard's Goat's owners plan to open "The Miniplex" by summer; they'll be showing less-than-mainstream films in a small theater adjacent to the tavern, where you'll be free to sip on a Marsh Fog 'til the credits roll.