Pegu Club is a place that I think most anyone can appreciate. But just like with haute cuisine and sushi and anything else at a certain level, I think there are things one needs to have a certain amount of experience and education in to fully appreciate about a place like Pegu Club.
the ice cubes are phenominal. huge. they don't melt.
but is this idea so revolutionary? huge ice cubes? fresh juices, soda out of glass?
surely someone else in new york can do it at that level with a better view then houston street and a sexier room?
To make a comparison, let's suppose someone walks into Sushi Yasuda, sits at a table instead of the bar, orders a California roll and a few pieces of salmon nigiri sushi, then says: "Is that it? Is this idea so revolutionary? Super-fresh fish and high quality rice? Surely it can't be too hard to do sushi on this level in a nicer location?" (Substitute any top haute restaurant in a similar scenario, like walking into Daniel and having a simple roast chicken.)
Now... you might say: "Um... If it were easy to do sushi on that level, everyone would be doing it. Maybe it's possible that you didn't quite take advantage of everything Sushi Yasuda has to offer, and maybe it's the case that you don't quite understand enough about sushi to fully appreciate what they're doing there." Indeed, this is something we have seen written in these forums time and time again about various restaurants and diners.
All of which is to say that there are plenty of revolutionary things about Pegu Club. There aren't too many bars that carry over 20 different bottlings of gin and have bartenders with the knowledge and skills to take advantage of the distinctive properties of all those different gins. There aren't too many bars where you can choose from a menu of distinctive cocktails created by a top mixologist like Audrey and her staff. There aren't too many bars staffed with bartenders who have such a comprehensive knowledge of mixology that they can make all the classics, no matter how obscure -- and if they don't know it from memory, they're happy to consult the first printing of The Gentleman's Companion or one of the other legendary classic reference books behind the bar. There aren't too many bars staffed with bartenders who can create a custom progression of cocktails for customers on the fly based on a spirit, flavor, concept or style. There aren't too many bars that are using only top quality ingredients like Kold Draft ice cubes, fresh juices, soda out of bottles rather than a gun, etc. I could go on. But suffice it to say that, yea, Pegu Club is a special place and no, there aren't a lot of places that are even remotely in the same league.
But, again, depending on the person and the circumstance, I think it's entirely possible to go in there and not be blown away. Just like it's possible to go into Sushi Yasuda or Daniel and not be blown away. Next time, try sitting at the bar on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening, branch out a little more with your cocktail choices and let the bartenders guide you. I think you'll have a more favorable impression.