Midtown has a new neighborhood bar. Owner John Thompson, known for developing legendary haunts such as Callaghan’s and Manci’s, opened Nixon’s in February. The bar and restaurant occupies the 1920s-era building that housed Nixon’s Drugs for 80 years, located at the intersection of Old Shell Road and Kenneth Street.
“John has always been into the history of Mobile, so that’s why he decided to do a throwback to the original name of the building,” says general manager Leigh Collins. “The decor just followed the drugstore theme so naturally.”
Immediately upon walking into the restaurant, you’ll see a beautiful wooden bar with an assortment of glass containers filled with candy — Blow Pops, Smartees, peppermints and Jolly Ranchers — nostalgic to the era of tiny local pharmacies with soda fountains. In addition to standard cocktail offerings, Nixon’s pays homage to the soda fountain with drinks such as the Cherry Lime Rickey and the Buzzed Brown Cow milkshake.
Modern pieces from artists like Abe Partridge mingle with neon beer signs and old pharmaceutical ads to create a funky vintage vibe.
“It’s gone over really well — we always have so much of the neighborhood in here and lots of return business,” Collins says. “It’s appealing to a lot of different groups of people. Friday afternoon and Saturday, we have tons of strollers and kids in here, and then of course, it’s a completely different crowd at night.”
Nixon’s has become a popular gathering spot for sports fans, and seven televisions in the small space ensure everyone has a great view of the game.
The kitchen, run by kitchen manager Brian Reed, focuses on affordable, approachable items: sandwiches, wraps and salads. The roast beef and turkey are roasted in-house, and all of Nixon’s sauces are made from scratch.
“We wanted to keep the menu reasonably priced so people can come here to eat three times a week,” Collins says. “We really do want to be the gathering place for Midtown.”
On the Menu
Seared Tuna Steak
A tuna steak is seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic salt, seared and topped with a zingy house-made wasabi aioli and a sweet-and-savory toasted sesame dressing.
Thai Wrap with Chicken
Grilled chicken, paired with crunchy fried onions, creates the illusion of fried chicken — a creative way to work around the deep fryer.
House-roasted shaved roast beef, caramelized onions and melted provolone make The Nixon one of the best roast beef sandwiches in town.
This classic and popular sandwich features shaved house-roasted turkey breast, bacon, Swiss cheese and a honey mustard aioli on a hoagie.
“Have a Cigar” Cuban Sandwich
Hoagie bread is stuffed full of shaved ham, smoked pulled pork, melted Swiss cheese, creole mustard and Wickles pickles.
Nixon’s • 1801 Old Shell Road • 3 – 11 p.m. Wednesday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday – Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday • 586-8780 • average entree price $11