With a strong bar program and a menu of Asian and European bistro fare—not to mention a prime location near downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square MarketSP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant has all the makings to grow into a new favorite during the South Bay’s current restaurant renaissance.

Exposed wooden beams and brick walls reflect San Pedro Square’s rustic look, while large sliding glass doors and modern furnishings also lend the space a sleek lounge feel. A spacious outdoor patio, with plenty of wide couches, is well-suited to groups, executing the communal concept of the restaurant.

SP2 offers classic cocktails such as the Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned as well as house creations. The Sandia Smokey ($10) blends refreshing watermelon juice with Aperol, rounding out their sweetness with the smoky flavor of mezcal. Fiery chili powder rimming the glass added an enjoyable kick.

The food menu has a bit of everything, from creative salads to pastas and flatbreads, as well as several bistro-style entrees. Portion sizes were ample enough for sharing a dish around the table and there were some unanimous favorites in our group.

The ginger soy glazed baby back ribs ($14 for half rack) were out-of-this-world tender and had a perfect sweet-and-salty flavor. A close second to the ribs were the steamed mussels ($16) with jalapeños and house-made chorizo in cream sauce. The sauce was big on flavor but light on heat, slightly sweet and perfect for sopping up with the grilled bread that comes with the dish. The burrata plate ($12), shrimp ceviche ($12) as well as the roasted beet and watermelon salad ($12) were light summer appetizers that worked well for sharing. The broccoli rabe and prosciutto flatbread ($16) didn’t quite live up to the appeal of its menu description, falling flat with broccoli rabe’s overly bitter flavor dominating the dish.

SP2 falters slightly when it comes to service. Seatings can sometimes come to a halt, despite the crowds seeming relatively light. Additionally, our server betrayed little excitement over the food or drinks; no real dialogue existed. Instead, servers seemed overloaded, with time allowing simply for order taking. These are minor but noticeable lapses one wouldn’t expect with veteran restaurateurs Agamie Melchiano and Ryan Hisamune at the helm.

Brunch is available on weekends and the menu looked very inviting. Perhaps the winner, though, is the happy hour with $5 select cocktails, $4 draft beers and $5 bar bites, including those delicious glazed ribs.