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Imbibing Itinerary or Cocktail Crawl


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If you two are both male you might have some trouble getting into some places at peak times. You might want to bring a female along to increase your chances of entrance.

That is almost completely false with reference to serious cocktail bars in NY. Seriously. You have no clue what you are talking about.

"Almost"?

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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If you two are both male you might have some trouble getting into some places at peak times. You might want to bring a female along to increase your chances of entrance.

That is almost completely false with reference to serious cocktail bars in NY. Seriously. You have no clue what you are talking about.

"Almost"?

well...one of them I could see some of the door people (if choosing between two parties to seat) possibly considering the gender ratio...but I could be completely wrong about that aspersion. certainly none of the others.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to thank everyone for their advice on my trip to NYC!

We had a great time. Hit Death & Co. and Elaterria on Friday night. Had awesome cocktails (thanks Philip and Lynnette!) and great food. D&C was everything I was hoping it would be - next trip up I can certainly see staying there for the entire evening!

Saturday had some tastings at Aquavit and the MoMA Cafe along with drinks at the Modern, Nat Sherman's new lounge, Pegu Club and Tailor. Was able to meet and talk with Audrey at Pegu which was also a real treat.

Unfortunately we couldn't get into PDT due to the crowds. Oh well, there is always next trip!

If anyone wants to read more detailed notes of the trip, check out the link to our blog below (in the sig). Sean's recap is already up and mine will be up sometime tonight.

Thanks again!

Cheers,

Marshall

My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them. -Winston Churchill

Co-Author: The Scofflaw's Den

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Everyone - I am on a business trip next week and will have just enough time to visit only *one* of the amazing lounges / speakeasies under discussion here. It would need to be in proximity to the west village and I would probably have to visit early in the evening. Probably Tues or Weds.

Based on discussion and feedback from friends, contenders seem to be:

- PDT

- Death & Co

- Flatiron Lounge

- Employees Only

- Pegu Club

- Little Branch

- Elettaria

Using quality / creativity of the cocktails as the main criterion, any thoughts as to which should be chosen?

Thanks in advance.

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You've listed some great places, but I'd definitely say PDT and Death & Co. if you have just a couple of hours. Both are in the East Village, which is just a very quick cab ride from the West Village. Open at 6 (good to go early), and are 2 blocks from each other should you want to hit both.

Next choice for me, and closer to the west village, would be Flatiron. I love Little Branch but I don't think it opens early (or maybe I've just never gone early - someone here will know).

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Hi Everyone - I am on a business trip next week and will have just enough time to visit only *one* of the amazing lounges / speakeasies under discussion here. It would need to be in proximity to the west village and I would probably have to visit early in the evening. Probably Tues or Weds.

Based on discussion and feedback from friends, contenders seem to be:

- PDT

- Death & Co

- Flatiron Lounge

- Employees Only

- Pegu Club

- Little Branch

- Elettaria

Using quality / creativity of the cocktails as the main criterion, any thoughts as to which should be chosen?

Thanks in advance.

My vote is definitely for Death & Co. with a close second for a Rita Hayworth at Elettaria. But if there is only time for one place, I'd go to Death & Co. and hope Juaquin was working!

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I second daisy17's recommendation of doing both Death & Co and PDT; they're approximately 70 feet total walk from each other, and it's possible to do a leisurely cocktail at each within the same hour.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I second daisy17's recommendation of doing both Death & Co and PDT; they're approximately 70 feet total walk from each other, and it's possible to do a leisurely cocktail at each within the same hour.

Love that you've actually calculated it.

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Thanks Everyone -

Mayur I will try not to "speed" when I am there!!

Due to a (happy) confluence of events, it appears I'll be able to do Death & Co (and who knows if I totally blow off a friend maybe PDT) on Monday and Little Branch on Tues. I'm really tempted by PDT - the "Staggerac" looks fantastic...

I'll let you know the results...

I average 3 CPH (cocktails per hour)!

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Thanks Everyone -

Mayur I will try not to "speed" when I am there!!

Due to a (happy) confluence of events, it appears I'll be able to do Death & Co (and who knows if I totally blow off a friend maybe PDT) on Monday and Little Branch on Tues. I'm really tempted by PDT - the "Staggerac" looks fantastic...

I'll let you know the results...

Well, I wouldn't count the Staggerac as "one drink" anyway. It's more like three. :wink: Sadly, it's also no longer available at PDT, since a) they've changed over to a new menu for spring and b) the George Stagg bourbon used in the drink is a limited run, hence not available forever.

I'd consider one drink every 20-30 minutes to be going slow... but I may just have an, er, different view of these matters than most people. Suffice it to say that you will be able to do both PDT and D&Co in one hour if you restrict yourself to one round at each.

I would pick Flatiron Lounge over Little Branch these days, actually; I feel like it's undergone a bit of a Renaissance. Both are good bars, of course!

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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Well, I wouldn't count the Staggerac as "one drink" anyway. It's more like three.  :wink: Sadly, it's also no longer available at PDT, since a) they've changed over to a new menu for spring and b) the George Stagg bourbon used in the drink is a limited run, hence not available forever.

I would pick Flatiron Lounge over Little Branch these days, actually; I feel like it's undergone a bit of a Renaissance. Both are good bars, of course!

You can still get the Staggerac if you ask for it., at least for now. But that one slows me down considerably. Last time I went, my friend received her third drink just as I was ready to order my second.

PDT is my go-to place when I have out-of-town guests. It's quiet enough to talk, and they always get a kick out of the "Bar in a hot-dog joint" thing. Particularly when they find out it's a particularly upscale bar. My jaded old-school restaurant guy father was visiting from Chicago, and he thought the phone booth was a neat trick, but he was really impressed when his Macallan 18 showed up with one big ice cube. That's his drink of choice, but he's used to places not stocking the 18, so it was fun to watch when he said, "I'll take a Macallan 18 on the rocks, if you have it. If not, the 12 is OK ... "

But the waitress said, "We have it." And my dad got this little look like, "What's up with this little hot-dog bar?"

Apparently he's been telling everyone about it back home. :raz:

FWD

Elizabeth Licata

Will eat for food

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The PDT/D&C combination is a good recommendation, because it's easy to experience two different styles of cocktailery and two different bars (albeit both of the "small/boutique variety") without traveling more than a few blocks. There are also plenty of good and interesting places nearby to eat at a wide variety of pricepoints.

PDT and D&C are getting a lot of attention right now, and deservedly so (and also due to the fact that many of us at eG have friends who bartend there). But I would like to add my voice to Mayur and Nathan in pointing out that there are some very good and interesting things happening at both Pegu Club and Flatiron Lounge these days -- so much so that I have been meaning to make some new posts about the goings on at both of these establishments. I think both establishments went through a bit of a lull when the talent they had helped develop moved forward into other opportunities (PTD and D&C noteworthily among them). Identifying and nurturing talent, and offering chances for expression, exploration and growth is especially important in maintaining vitality and quality -- especially at larger bars such as we have in Flatiron Lounge and Pegu Club. Not for nothing are Audrey Saunders and Julie Reiner known as two of the most important figures in NYC cocktails and the cocktail revival in general. Another "next generation" of cocktailian bartenders is very much coming into its own at both Flatiron and Pegu, and I've had brilliant drinks at both places recently. If you really want an interesting drink, try Erin's "Kill Devil" at Pegu: white rhum agricole, Green Chartreuse, demerara syrup, bitters and, if you're there on a night when the bar isn't slammed, a burning disk of lime peel floating on the drink. Beware, though! It goes down silky-smooth, but it's very boozy.

--

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Tuesday's actually a nice evening to hit Pegu. Kenta tends bar on those evenings, and the crowd is highly tamped down from how it is on weekends. Lots of good cocktails coming out from behind the bar on those nights!

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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You can still get the Staggerac if you ask for it., at least for now.  But that one slows me down considerably. Last time I went, my friend received her third drink just as I was ready to order my second.

I think one would have to worry if one were able to finish a Staggerac in the time spent to drink a standard up cocktail. :biggrin:
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I've yet to find a review of similar midtown establishments (read recent note on Grayz); thought Bar 44 impressive site but drinks not on par w/ PDT; same for Moma Bar (see/be seen)...

So where are the craftsmen/women of Midtown...?

Thanks.

~waves

"When you look at the face of the bear, you see the monumental indifference of nature. . . . You see a half-disguised interest in just one thing: food."

Werner Herzog; NPR interview about his documentary "Grizzly Man"...

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I've yet to find a review of similar midtown establishments (read recent note on Grayz); thought Bar 44 impressive site but drinks not on par w/ PDT; same for Moma Bar (see/be seen)...

So where are the craftsmen/women of Midtown...?

Thanks.

Grayz.

And no, I'm really not kidding. Other than Grayz, there is *nothing* to even remotely compare with the attention to detail, quality and innovativeness of recipes, level of ingredients, and bartending technique at a place like PDT or D&Co.

And yes, I'm spoiled by the fact that I live less than two blocks from D&Co and four from PDT. But that doesn't change the fact that there are regrettably few establishments that have even *tried* to really approach the level of the top tier in town. In fact, even among some top tier establishments (PDT, D&Co, Flatiron, Pegu, M&H, Tailor, and Little Branch) quality has risen and fallen over some periods (Flatiron and Pegu come to mind, as we've been discussing above in this topic).

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I've yet to find a review of similar midtown establishments (read recent note on Grayz); thought Bar 44 impressive site but drinks not on par w/ PDT; same for Moma Bar (see/be seen)...

So where are the craftsmen/women of Midtown...?

Thanks.

there aren't any. it's midtown. Grayz is it.

in the very southern part of Murray Hill you have Bar Milano...where the house drinks are serious....I can't say whether you'd want to go off-menu or not.

then you've got Flatiron Lounge.

that's it above 14th.

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Well, while we're looking above 14th St, anyone been to Bemelmans lately? I've been only once since Audrey left lo those 4 or so years ago, but I'm curious how much they've kept on top of the program....

Christopher

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Grayz.

And no, I'm really not kidding. Other than Grayz, there is *nothing* to even remotely compare with the attention to detail, quality and innovativeness of recipes, level of ingredients, and bartending technique at a place like PDT or D&Co.

And yes, I'm spoiled by the fact that I live less than two blocks from D&Co and four from PDT. But that doesn't change the fact that there are regrettably few establishments that have even *tried* to really approach the level of the top tier in town. In fact, even among some top tier establishments (PDT, D&Co, Flatiron, Pegu, M&H, Tailor, and Little Branch) quality has risen and fallen over some periods (Flatiron and Pegu come to mind, as we've been discussing above in this topic).

What do you think of The Campbell Apartment? I haven't been there, but it's right by my friend's office and he's been wanting to give it a try.

Elizabeth Licata

Will eat for food

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What do you think of The Campbell Apartment?  I haven't been there, but it's right by my friend's office and he's been wanting to give it a try.

Cool spot, sorely disappointing cocktails.

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Cool spot, sorely disappointing cocktails.

How disappointing! I'm a real sucker for a great space, but it's always such a letdown if the food doesn't measure up. I'd heard they weren't very innovative with their menu, but I had hoped they were good for classics at least. Le sigh.

Elizabeth Licata

Will eat for food

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hey everyone - first of all THANK YOU to everyone who posted or PM'd. a lot of great suggestions and hopefully next time i'll be able to build more time into my itinerary...

With time for only one venue, I chose Death & Co, and was seated at the bar in a relatively short period of time (thank you KELVIN!) and met Juaquin, who was fantastic helping me actually figure out what I wanted to drink. I decided on "bourbon with fruit" as a general theme and he made a version of a Brown Derby, with Knob Creek to bring out the spice and substituting a cinnamon - sugar mix over the traditional honey.

The drink was fantastic - the bourbon stood on its own, and the cinnamon enhanced its spice and produced a (very) pleasant burn on the finish. It was a singularly fantastic cocktail.

Again thanks to everyone for the info and the recommendations - next time I will make sure to budget enough time to do a proper "crawl"...

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