Do you know RON (Zacapa)?
A Havana Night!
A fun hotel bar for a drink!
Visiting a New Rooftop Bar!
A post-birthday feast nightcap!
An Alphabet City Hang out!
Cocktails with one hell of a view!
Madison Square Park Has Much More Than JUST Shake Shack!
A Mid-Summer's Night Dream (Hotel) Celebration with the Interns!
A brand new speakeasy near Union Square that demands your attention
Fancy Happy Hour at The Flatiron Room
Note: since I posted this, the owner reached out to me, Happy Hour is from 4-7pm and ALL signature drinks are $10!
Since I returned from my trip to Ireland, I've wanted to catch up with many of my friends, especially Melissa! I did research on some fun places for happy hour. The Flatiron Room (http://www.theflatironroom.com/) has a happy hour from 5-7pm and features a bartender's selection of specialty cocktails for $10 each (Margaritas and Manhattans offered when we were there) as well as $10 flatbreads (the one we got was originally $17, so a great deal!). During the week, live music from 5:30 to 8:30pm adds to the ambiance.
For my first cocktail, I ordered the featured margarita - it was lovely! I am always a fan of the coupe glass.
After we got our first cocktail, we ordered the Pig & Fig Flat Breads. This yummy one features guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon), black mission fig and arugula! It was so good, we ordered two!
After the first cocktail, I got a Manhattan. It featured a spritz of Absinthe which I asked to not have on my drink. Just not a fan. The adjusted cocktail was great!
The interior of the bar has a wonderful vibe.
I recommend coming during Happy Hour, though it would be better if ALL specialty cocktails were $10 and not just the bartender's selection.
Pravda for a Cocktail
I've been here before several times and have always enjoyed the venue's take on vodka cocktails. My sweet tooth was requesting a dessert cocktail, so I went with the Hit List, made with Honey and Vanilla Bean Vodka, Ambre Cognac, Crème de Caco and Heavy Cream.
I love the attention to detail and presentation of the cocktails here. The setting feels like an underground subway station - tiles, arches and dim lighting.
If you're in Nolita, check out this location for a drink!
Cocktails that are a Religious Experience
I met up with one of my MBA1 buddies, Katharine, for a cocktail last weekend. I am so excited for her summer internship! She will be at the company that I will be joining full-time upon graduation.
Katharine lives near campus and I chose Temple Bar (http://www.templebarnyc.com/). I've been to this bar before and had a great time. I knew this would be a solid spot for a strong cocktail and good conversation. After looking at the menu, I picked the Femme Fatale, made with Bulleit Bourbon, Orchard Cherry and Allspice Dram.
As a bourbon fan, this drink hit the spot! It's a bit sweeter than a Manhattan but has many of the same flavors.
If you're in NoHo and looking for a cocktail, this is a wonderful spot to check out. Especially if you're looking for a more upscale vibe and a quiet spot, this is for you!
Fig. 19 is a Truly Hidden Treasure
Scott and I were planning to eat dinner at a spot that didn't take reservations - normally this pisses me off, but we wanted to do a seafood boil and there are limited options! When I got there, I gave them my number and was told that the wait would be about an hour. As I waited for Scott to arrive, I went on Yelp! to see if there were any interesting bars nearby for a cocktail. A spot a couple doors down caught my attention: Fig. 19 (http://www.figurenineteen.com/).
This is a legit speakeasy. I almost went into the bar downstairs (Home Sweet Home) but luckily I asked the bouncer where Fig. 19 was located. The bouncer was standing between Home Sweet Home and an art gallery. Based on the reviews I read, I did not know that Fig. 19 was located through a secret door in the art gallery. So, when I asked the bouncer "Where is the bar?" I basically handed in my New Yorker card and looked like a complete n00b tourist. Better safe than sorry - the last thing I wanted to do was open the wrong door. Sometimes, a surprise is not the best thing on the other side of the door!
The bar is a stark contrast to the art gallery. The gallery is bright, white and sparse. The bar is brooding, dark and cluttered with knickknacks - including taxidermied animals.
I really loved some of the details, especially the back bar. Check out that spooky animal and owl. Creeptastic.
The fireplace was also very inviting. The peacock was beautiful and very watchful. Dead serious. See what I did there? I know. No shame.
From the menu, I selected the Rhapsody in Rye, made with rosemary infused rye, ginger syrup, Campari, fresh grapefruit juice and sea salt. It had a certain bite to it from the ginger but was overall very balanced.
Scott ordered the Red Lead, made with Irish whiskey, red wine reduction, dry vermouth, Sherry and Absinthe. I gave it a sip - a very complex flavor profile from the reduction and the Absinthe.
Although I was initially annoyed I couldn't make a reservation, I'm glad we had an hour to kill! I had no idea this speakeasy existed. Make sure to add it to your list of hidden NYC treasures - like PDT and Milk & Honey.
Spicy Mayo on a Burger? Why Doesn't This Happen More?
After an evening class on a cold(ass) Winter's night, I had a late-night bite with Christine and Duygu. I wasn't sure what I wanted for dinner, I just knew I did not want to be outside any longer. With this information, The Madelyn NYC (http://themadelynnyc.com/) was promising. I had gone here before for some cocktails when it was a different concept...a wine bar, I believe?
The inside is warm and inviting - check out that fireplace! The colored lights are a bit tacky but I think the idea is to create an ambiance. The random stagecoach above the fireplace adds just that a hint of randomness.
When I saw the menu, I knew I had to get the burger. Inside this lounge-like location, I didn't know what to expect from a burger. I was tentatively hopeful but prepared for it to be as random as the stagecoach.
The Charcoal Grilled Burger was the perfect amount of random, by way of the Spicy Mayo. I got it with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese and ketchup. The burger was AWESOME - very juicy and flavorful. I asked for it medium and it was cooked to temp! Love when that happens. The fries were very tasty and a portion that prevented me from overeating. Would I have eaten more? Um, of course.
I'll have to come back during the weekend sometime. A Tuesday was especially dead and hard to establish the vibe.
Employees Only Serves Up The Good Stuff
Our final stop on our West Village cocktail crawl was Employees Only (http://www.employeesonlynyc.com/). This lounge has been on my list for a long time. Unlike the other places that we went into, Employees Only is primarily a drink spot. Wallflower and Whitehall are focused much more on food. Given its focus, smaller size and exclusivity, there were doormen outside. When we managed to get to the address, we saw that there were several other people waiting outside. The inside is small, so I understand they cannot let everyone in. My frozen face was hoping some people would be leaving and, luckily, we did not have to wait much longer than a minute or two.
When we got inside, the beauty of the bar struck me.
We weren't able to snag any seats at the bar, so we had to awkwardly stand. I say awkwardly because the inside is small - this feeling is amplified by how many people were inside. There is a fire place, which adds certain character to the venue, but if you're too close, you feel like you may melt. For cocktails that are $15-$16, I very much prefer to be able to sit down. The last thing I want is for some girl taking a #selfie to knock into me and spill my drink.
I settled on ordering the Blondina, made with Wild Turkey Bourbon, Apple Liqueur, puréed Pears and Fresh Lemon Juice.
I did enjoy this cocktail. The glassware made it a bit tricky to handle since we were standing. The thin stem was not very reassuring! The cocktail glasses are personalized for the bar. Night touch.
Aish ordered the Provencal, made with Lavender-infused Plymouth Gin stirred with Herbs de Provence-infused French Vermouth and Cointreau. She took a sip and commented: "I'm drunk." The drink was STRONG as all the ingredients were alcohol-based.
While I did enjoy this spot, I would have much preferred to have someone to sit and place my drink down. Instead of returning here, I'd much rather check out The Experimental Cocktail Club again!
A Hidden Spot Worth Finding
I recently went on a first date with someone from OKCupid. According to the site's algorithm, we were already a strong match at 95%. We also texted back and forth. Overall, I had a positive vibe going into the date. Although I try to temper my expectations, it is exciting when you're meeting someone new and have a good gut feeling.
My initial impression was further confirmed when he suggested three awesome cocktail places to meet. I had just gone to one of the places (Analogue) and was intrigued by the quality of his other two choices. I hadn't even heard of The Skylark (a three level cocktail bar with impressive views of the city)! I decided to go with The Experimental Cocktail Club (http://www.experimentalcocktailclubny.com/). I heard many great things about this lounge and wanted to experience it first hand. Not only did he bring one good idea to the table, he brought three! I was delighted!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I arrived about 30 minutes early. I met up with him at 7pm and we went into the bar. I was pleased as he was even cuter than his photos which were already very cute! (Side Note: Be forewarned if you come here that it is hard to find! There is no signage outside. There is a black awning and the windows have curtains covering them. Just watch the street numbers and you'll find it!)
Since we got there exactly when they opened, we cozied up at the bar so we could chat with the bartender. I knew the cocktail menu was impressive so I wanted to be able to ask questions and watch him make our drinks. I started with Dabam's Flip. It is made with Plantation Barbados 5 Rum, Sweetened Thai Ice Tea, Condensed Milk, Whole Egg, Angostura Bitter and Pernod Absinthe. I'm typically not a huge Absinthe person but the bartender assured me that it only complemented the cocktail and wasn't overbearing.
I LOVED THIS! If you've ever had a Thai Ice Tea, it tasted exactly like that but better! The addition of the alcohol tempered the sweetness of the tea and condensed milk. Yum! My date ordered the Take (pronounced "Tah-Cay") Is Going Back to Japan. It is made with Shitake Mushroom Infused Great King Street Scotch, Cocoa Nibs Infused Maple Syrup, El Maestro Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Black Walnut Bitters.
My date really liked his cocktail. I sampled it and it was good but not as much my cup of tea. Sometimes scotch is a bit too intense for me, especially if it is a smoky or peaty scotch. I don't have the taste appreciation for it! My date suggested that we order something to nibble on while we sip on our cocktails. He chose the cheese plate which turned out to be an awesome suggestion!
The plate came with three cheeses - two were softer (cannot recall the names) and one was a harder, sharp cheddar. I don't recall how much the cheese plate was and of course there is no menu online (I doubt it was over $20). Anyway, my point is that the quantity was HUGE! It was served with an orange marmalade, honey, slices of bread and grapes. SO TASTY. I'm so glad he ordered it - smart move!
For my next cocktail, I ordered the Jean Claude Pandan - amazing name, right? It is made with Pandan Infused Plantation 3 Star Rum, Batavia Arrak, Ceylon Tea Mix, Citrus, Coconut Water and Clarified Banana Juice. The drink is CLEAR because it is clarified. It looks like water but tastes like a tropical explosion.
I loved how it was served in a small bottle - it looked like I was prescribed this drink. I'm ok with that! My date ordered the Handsome Jack. It was made with Rittenhouse Rye, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Byrrh Quinquina, Aperol, Chartreuse, Maple, Angosture and Peychaud's Bitters. He loved it! I sampled it and really like it too - I love Rye!
In the photo you may notice the other glass. Our bartender was very generous! We asked a lot of questions about the spirits on the back bar. He gave us several small samples of rare spirits; one was Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. Another was Ron de Jeremy. You guess it! A rum that is affiliated with the infamous porn star Ron Jeremy. The tagline (my favorite): Long Smooth Taste! I just have no words.
I had a cocktail before I arrived at the bar, so I took a lap while my date ordered another. He asked our bartender to make whatever he felt like for him. The resulting cocktail is below!
My date really liked it! I think it was reminiscent of a Manhattan. I gave it a sip and approved! Next up, our bartender continued the trend of generosity when he offered both of us a complimentary round of his favorite cocktail: the Hay-Hay. It is made with Burnt Butter & Toasted Hay Infused Drouin Calvados, Sage, Lemon and Black Salt.
After our first sip, we could both see why this was a favorite of our bartender! It was a wonderfully balanced drink. Also, don't you love the glassware? The drinks we ordered were served in an array of glasses. Like my grandma always told me, it makes a difference! A red solo cup is not the same as cut crystal!
For our final round, we both asked the bartender to make whatever he wanted - we had implicit trust in him! I asked for a sweeter cocktail and my date asked for something Scotch based.
I loved my drink. I don't at all remember what was in it, so I cannot provide further info. My date loved his too. CHECK OUT THAT GINGER GARNISH!
The trend continued - all the drinks were winners! Halfway through the night, someone started playing live music. The vibe was wonderful here. Ample seating, beautiful bathrooms and an incredible staff. I cannot wait to come back!
I Made A Grammar Joke!
Prior to our late night (12:15am) show at The Comedy Cellar, we headed to Analogue (http://analoguenyc.com/) for a pre-show cocktail. I heard great things about this spot but couldn't go previously because it opens at 5pm and I was always in the neighborhood around 4pm. Oh well, solved that problem!
The setting is an ultra-relaxed lounge with jazz music. It certainly ups the posh factor for cocktail spots on 8th Street (near NYU). Since we didn't have much time before our show, I looked over the menu and asked our server for recommendations. She recommended the Peche Bourbon (I already had my eye on it!). I couldn't find the list of ingredients on the website (still under construction), but the base of the drink is house-made Peach Bourbon. YUM!
The drink was really lovely! I loved the shape of the glass. The peach enhanced the existing profile of the bourbon. I also snapped a photo of the back bar. Last year, I worked on a consulting project for Brenne (http://drinkbrenne.com/) and I was proud to see it on the back bar!
If you find yourself in the neighborhood, give this spot a whirl. Great vibe, attentive servers and skilled bartenders!
A Pre-Theater Cocktail!
Before our 3pm Broadway Show , Courtney and I ordered a cocktail at The Rum House (http://www.edisonrumhouse.com/) located at The Hotel Edison. I've gone to this place before with another close friend (Olivia) so I knew it would be a great place for a pre-show drink. Also, this spot has awesome hours (Mon-Sun 12pm - 4am). Many bars don't open until after 4pm or later, so keep this bar in your back pocket if in the area early in the day!
I checked Yelp! reviews to get some inspiration for my order. Based on some RAVES, I got the Tortuga, made with Brugal Anejo (a golden rum), Muddled Citrus, Fresh Ginger and Cinnamon.
If you examine the cocktail closely, you will see a large piece of candied ginger NOT an ice cube. I took a too large bite out of it - WOW! Packs a punch. The atmosphere of this place is very inviting and old-fashioned. Check it out!
Oh My, Is That a Spotted Dick?
After our drinks at Hill and Bay, we headed over to The Peacock (http://www.thepeacocknyc.com/), a new British restaurant and cocktail parlor that recently opened in The William Hotel. It opened earlier in January 2014 and has a sister pub downstairs, The Shakespeare. How British! I just cannot help myself.
We arrived a little bit before our reservations, so we enjoyed a cocktail in The Library Bar. The setting is very much like a library with alcohol, so whoever named it should be promoted. I was automatically a fan. After reviewing the cocktail menu, I decided on the Bramble, made with Tanqueray, Lemon and Blackberries. It is served in a Julep Cup - love the detail!
Courtney ordered the Arbor Blush, made with Rose, Kapp a Pisco, Green Grapes and Chandon Rose.
When Courtney tried my cocktail, she did have buyer's remorse. This is why you order more than one! We brought our cocktails into the main dining room for dinner. It is set at the back of the hotel lobby and separated by French Doors; it is a nice touch. It makes you feel like you're at a super secret location, especially since the dining room is fairly small. Nice touch! Additionally, the tableware was personalized.
Even the BREAD PLATES had a Peacock - I was so impressed!
While we reviewed the menu, we both ordered a Bulleit Rye Manhattan. It was delicious and STRONG. I sipped that puppy.
After I reviewed the menu, I decided on the Lancashire Hot Pot. It included Braised lamb shoulder, roasted vegetables, rosemary and Yukon potatoes. It was PHENOMENAL! I loved it! Since this is British food, it was a bit hearty/heavy. The portion was the perfect size since it was so filling.
Courtney ordered the Braised Chicken and Red Wine Risotto - she loved it! I didn't snap a picture though - my b! I was too focused on my meal, so you know it was yummy!
We had to get dessert. A group next to us had ordered four desserts and we asked their favorites. They said the Sticky Toffee Date Pudding and they ranked the Spotted Dick last. I was going to make a comment, but I contained myself. Naturally, I would hope most would not prefer to order such a thing! I kid, I kid.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding was served with a toffee rum sauce and sticky toffee ice cream. It was yummy!!!!! LOVED IT.
Overall, I look forward to returning. The service was VERY slow. I will give this spot the benefit of the doubt since it is a new operation and a new staff. Hopefully that will turn around quickly or people will not want to return. I'm sending good wishes to The Peacock! Go get um!