Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Fat Guy

The five best cocktail destinations in NYC

Recommended Posts

there last nite - they had a guest bartender from boston who took us through a few nice drinks

kudos on a great tequila sour with chocolate mole essence - reminded me of a beautiful margarita but with all the class of a well mixed sour.

I was at PDT last night as well. His chartreuse-heavy Alaska was a little sweet but the Toronto was terrific.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That said, whether or not this particular kind of experience would prepare a PDT bartender for something like Friday night at Flatiron Lounge with four times the volume and still only two or three bartenders is another story.

I don't know. Having seen some busy nights at PDT, I can say that Don is pretty fast.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That said, whether or not this particular kind of experience would prepare a PDT bartender for something like Friday night at Flatiron Lounge with four times the volume and still only two or three bartenders is another story.
I don't know. Having seen some busy nights at PDT, I can say that Don is pretty fast.

I know he is. I'm just saying that Friday night at a place like Flatiron Lounge is PDT times about 10, starting at 6:00 and staying that way until the wee hours. I don't know how they do it. It's not just banging out all those drinks, but also servicing that many checks, keeping track of that many customers, making time for those who want a more cocktailian experience, etc. This isn't taking anything away from the guys at PDT, it's giving the proper credit to the guys at FL.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently lunching at the bar at Gramercy Tavern and the current cocktail list here is quite nice. There's even an excellent Arrack cocktail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently moved to NYC and have been working my way around the various cocktail revival bars (pegu, PDT) and I heard about Milk & Honey, but have not been able to find anyone who has been and knows how to get in. I did hear something about them changing their phone number recently anyway.

I was hoping someone on this board may be able to provide me with their new contact info via private message. It would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a fair amount of us have the info but out of deference to M&H policy, it's best if people get to know you first. Hanging out at PDT et al is an excellent way to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick question....

Do all of the top destinations, Pegu, PDT, Apotheke, etc require reservations? I read somewhere that this is the case, which seemed quite odd to me.


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're one or two, don't worry about it. Find a seat at the bar and you're better of for it. If you want a table, especially at PDT you'll need to call exactly at 3 pm the day you want to go. It can be quite frustrating.

I think D&Co. makes about the tastiest drinks in the city. I'd skip out on Apotheke. Style over substance by most reports. Don't totally neglect the restaurant bars if you're trying to save some money as there are some decent deals out there. For instance, Elettaria has a good happy hour deal, and Allen and Delancey does half-priced cocktails on Tuesdays. No reservations for these bars obviously. Keep in mind that these restaurant bars, depending on who is working, can be more variable in quality especially if they're busy. Case in point, A&D's Tuesday night deal gets pretty mobbed and the bartenders I've seen there don't put as much care into the drinks as their program deserves. Even Tailor, whose drinks are totally delicious, sometimes serves a drink that's not cold enough or sloppily made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BryanZ speaks the truth. Just to be clear, Death & Co doesn't take reservations at all (and neither does Pegu), and PDT does for tables, but not for the bar. I say go early or late (but not late to Pegu, it becomes a vodka/soda mob scene), with one other person, and sit at the bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BryanZ speaks the truth.  Just to be clear, Death & Co doesn't take reservations at all (and neither does Pegu), and PDT does for tables, but not for the bar.  I say go early or late (but not late to Pegu, it becomes a vodka/soda mob scene), with one other person, and sit at the bar.

And honestly, I've never had a huge problem getting a seat at D&Co. Maybe we go out at wierd hours because both of us get sleepy, but honestly the most I've waited is half an hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the advice guys! Much appreciated...


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always have trouble getting a seat at Death & Co on a Friday or Saturday, so I've stopped trying. Last call is some time between 11:15 and 11:30 because they close at midnight. If you try to stop by after dinner and the list is already long, you won't get in before closing.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I always have trouble getting a seat at Death & Co on a Friday or Saturday, so I've stopped trying. Last call is some time between 11:15 and 11:30 because they close at midnight. If you try to stop by after dinner and the list is already long, you won't get in before closing.

I've found the same thing. However, Sundays or pretty much any time early in the week seems to have worked for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it's looking like reservations are not needed, although Daisy17 said "go early or late". Can someone define that in NYC terms, because I'm sure "early and late" would mean different things in Pittsburgh.

Second, is there a dress code or things to wear to not look out of place (I'll be in town this weekend)?

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So it's looking like reservations are not needed, although Daisy17 said "go early or late".  Can someone define that in NYC terms, because I'm sure "early and late" would mean different things in Pittsburgh. 

Second, is there a dress code or things to wear to not look out of place (I'll be in town this weekend)?

Thanks

early is 6-7:30, late is 2am (1am on weekdays) onward; for me at least. btw, the only places you need reservations are milk & honey and PDT.

i only attempt death & co on a weekend if i can get there by 6:30. otherwise what kathryn says is very true. sometimes they call back in 10 mins but usually they call when you've already gotten comfortable elsewhere. i don't recommend going to PDT w/o a reservation on a weekend regardless of the party size. i've seen too many couples get turned away at the door. as bryanz says, skip apotheke.

mayahuel is a newcomer worth trying. i've yet to have any issues getting in.

there is no dress code at most places. just avoid the extremes: uptight biz attire (tho suits are not uncommon on wkdays) vs. cap, shorts & flip flops. the patrons tend to be everyone in between, leaning toward the trendier side. no hats for gentlemen at milk & honey and little branch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another major contender, in my book, that is easy to get into and where the drinks are significanly less expensive is Dutch Kills in Long Island City.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another major contender, in my book, that is easy to get into and where the drinks are significanly less expensive is Dutch Kills in Long Island City.

We thought it was very good too. The only caveat I had about Dutch Kills is that the seating area is so isolated from the action at the bar, and that hurts the experience a bit for me if I'm with a big enough group to need a table.

Having said that, it's surprising how quickly the $4 difference in price between a DK and a Death adds up.


Edited by WK2 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

White Star is also a pretty good deal – $7/cocktail before 9 PM, which I think is one of the best deals anywhere. Not that much more out of the way than a certain affiliated bar that charges more than twice as much! :raz:


Edited by taion (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ssam Bar's cocktail program is now pretty good, too, at least when Don's there. Probably not quite at the level of the top dedicated cocktail bars, especially since (I think) it's not fully up to speed yet, but significantly better than the typical "good restaurant cocktail program".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find that the new restaurants in New York have been making a bigger effort to offer cocktail lists with some personality, that incorporate interesting ingredients like cilantro, smoked salt or creme de violet. The other night I had a bite at the new Standard Grill, at the Standard Hotel.

I tried the "speakeasy": rye, raw sugar cube, bitters, housemade absinthe, lemon twist. Turns out I could't believe the absinthe was housemade (who makes absinthe at home?!) - I asked the manager.

But the drink, served neat, was very good all the same.

gallery_36345_6685_261.jpg

Their gibson is made with a "splash of juniper-onion brine" and there's also a mezcal cocktail made with lime juice, agave nectar and smoked salt.

In other words, not your usual stuff.

Same goes for the brand-new Hotel Griffou - interesting cocktail list (and no, it's not a hotel, it's a restaurant in the Village!)

gallery_36345_6685_23963.jpg


Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NYC restaurant cocktail programs are better, probably, than they've ever been.

But the problems I've tended to have (and I've not yet been to either the Standard or the Hotel Grifou, so these comments don't refer to them) are:

1. The drinks often tend to read better than they taste, which may be because they were ill-conceived (you never know if the person behind the cocktail menu is someone you can trust) or because . . . .

2. The standard of bartending at many restaurants tends to be pretty low. Jiggers, for example, are rarely used. So even if well-conceived, the drinks at all too many NYC restaurants tend to be ill-made.

My new favorite exception: Insieme, which has an EXCELLENT cocktail program.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I tried the "speakeasy": rye, raw sugar cube, bitters, housemade absinthe, lemon twist. Turns out I could't believe the absinthe was housemade (who makes absinthe at home?!) - I asked the manager.

Call me crazy, but that sure sounds like a Sazerac to me.

NYC restaurant cocktail programs are better, probably, than they've ever been.

2.  The standard of bartending at many restaurants tends to be pretty low.  Jiggers, for example, are rarely used.  So even if well-conceived, the drinks at all too many NYC restaurants tend to be ill-made.

Call me crazy, but yes, you're right - and I agree, though haven't been to Insieme.

Aren't they using jiggers at Allen & Delancey?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a go at White Star last night before 9 pm. There's no better deal I know of in Manhattan. $7 a drink is not far off what some dive bar charges with a rum and coke. And the drinks are good. We had a bit of a mixup with a sazerac and a margarita (suffice it to say that I now know what a sazerac with cointreau and a margarita without taste like) but they were remade cheerily and were very good when they turned up.

Our verdict is that when you're out to celebrate or to forget something, D&Co. is better for being blown away by quality, for spending the entire evening sinking ever deeper into a drowsy funk. But for a couple of quick drinks, we liked White Star.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I tried the "speakeasy": rye, raw sugar cube, bitters, housemade absinthe, lemon twist. Turns out I could't believe the absinthe was housemade (who makes absinthe at home?!) - I asked the manager.

Call me crazy, but that sure sounds like a Sazerac to me.

Ditto. Does the inclusion of actual Absinthe (assuming that the "housemade" Absinthe is, in fact, actual Absinthe) make it a unique enough drink to warrant a new name?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...