After I had checked into my room, had a glass of wine, and changed out of my travel duds, I met up with my friend Meg at The Nomad, just a few short blocks away.
We had a couple of really well crafted cocktails in the gorgeous bar while waiting for our dinner table; one of mine had rye, bird chile infused Aperol and Cherry Herring! The bar was packed, even on a Wednesday night, but still comfortable with lots of dark wood and high ceilings. There is another area off to the side called the library that is very quiet if you are looking for a more subdued atmosphere.
After our dinner Meg and I met my brother in law for night caps at Booker and Dax. The shtick at this bar, part of the Momofuku empire, is that many of the drinks are mixed with hot pokers or loggerheads. Might not be such a great draw in the summer but on this cold winter night it was excellent. The drinks were flamed up and delicious. In fact we had two rounds!
There are so many great cocktail bars in NYC that we had to be content to just pick a few as I only had 4 nights. Since the East Village is a breeding ground for all things hip, cocktail bars included, Forest and I spent an evening with friends Karen and Laren, who graciously led us on a nice little crawl through the 'hood.
We started the night at the infamous PDT where you enter through a phone booth inside Crif Dogs. The small space and low ceilings makes it feel like a private club but the bartenders are welcoming and the drinks fantastic, nothing snooty here. The small size does warrant making reservations though.
Moving on to Death & Co. we checked in with the door man and he led us in, seating us at a pretty corner table. This bar is turning on the style a bit more, velvet curtains, big chandelier, and a sophisticated wild west vibe (is that even such a thing?). But still with great cocktails to back it up. Each page of their drink menu is dedicated to a different spirit, and a preparation method, providing lots of unique options to choose from.
The final cocktail stop was Pouring Ribbons. The scene was much calmer here, in fact the bar wasn't quite full. The interior is more sparse, not as cozy to me. The superstar here is the booze, and to be more exact, the collection of Chartreuse that they have amassed. Holy monks!
It goes without saying that all the bars were A+ places to drink, we were there on a week night so didn't have to deal with a lot of crowds which was very nice.
Another night we had pre-dinner drinks at The Breslin which is inside the Ace Hotel (again, just a few blocks from the Eventi). If NYC cocktail prices give you sticker shock this is a great place to go. All the cocktails are $13, which by the city's standards is pretty cheap. Tasty drinks, a space that was great for a group, and as it is in the Ace Hotel there are lots of hipsters to amuse you!
My favorite bar in the city was the much lauded Dead Rabbit. Everything about it could easily be seen as hokey, overworked, precious, etc. But it all just gels. The old-timey music, the drinks served in tea cups, the upstairs parlor room. The location is way down town, and there didn't seem to be anything else around it, but the amazing menu of drinks and fun vibe absolutely make it worth the effort to get there.
Brooklyn drinking gets its own post, stay tuned.
NYC photos here.
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