A library of hard-to-find and small-batch spirits, knowledgeable bartenders and delightfully tasty bar bites make Paper Plane a cocktail connoisseur’s paradise. The gastropub comes from the same ownership of craft beer bar (and next-door neighbor), Original Gravity. Paper Plane offers plenty of space for sipping in a large, open room that has a few booths and tables scattered here and there; the bar, with massive shelves laden with various spirits, serves as a colorful backdrop.

The bar serves a mix of house creations, classics such as the Hemingway Daiquiri as well as modern mixology quaffs curated from other craft cocktail bars around the country. The cocktail menu provides a helpful chart that plots Paper Plane’s drink selections based on various flavor profiles. Looking for some that qualifies as both “easy sipping” as well as “adventurous?” Herbaceous, yet refreshing, the Spice of Life ($11) cocktail has at its heart the caraway-flavored Scandinavian spirit, aquavit, coupled with Cocchi Americano, lime juice, cucumber soda and a rimming of house spices.

Paper Plane also serves house punches and barrel-aged cocktails. At $13 a piece, the barrel-aged creations are worth the price if you drink adventurously. I was looking for the bold, concentrated flavors associated with barrel aging and the Alto Cucina was a perfect selection. Again taking advantage of Paper Plane’s impressive spirit arsenal, the cocktail uses Cynar, an Italian liqueur made from artichoke and a blend of spices. With that, into the barrel goes Pig’s Nose Scotch Whisky, Dolin Dry Vermouth and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The resulting cocktail is slightly sweet, a touch bitter—a drink that I enjoyed slowly, over small sips. If curiosity gets the better of you, Paper Plane’s bartenders (many of whom are former Single Barrel employees) will gladly tell you all about the cornucopia of spirits resting on the shelf behind them.

On the food menu, you will find a mix of bar bites perfect for sharing such as the pork belly chicharon ($9), brightened with a house five-spice blend and a ramekin of carrot puree. The main attraction, however, is the chicken and waffle sliders ($9) which pair rosemary waffles with buttermilk-battered chicken tenders. The additions of peppery arugula, a sweet and salty bacon jam and a drizzle of balsamic glaze add complexity to the dish. Chicken and waffles may be an exhausted gastropub item, but Paper Plane’s were delicious. On my weeknight visit, while most of South First Street was relatively quiet, Paper Plane was hopping with customers, perhaps a testament to the growing popularity of San Jose’s newest gastropub.