Address: 191 Chrystie St. New York, NY 10002, USA
Address: 310 Lenox Ave. New York, NY 10027, USA
Tel: +1 (212) 421-3821
Type: Cocktail bar
Ginny's Supper Club recently opened underneath Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant Red Rooster, a lively and very popular place in Harlem. It took a few tries to go there - it closed early and was hosting a private event another time. Third-time lucky was the charm, however, and it was worth the wait: entering the room felt like walking into an episode of Mad Men, and our table right down in front of a scorchingly good jazz band was straight out of Goodfellas. An early-60s feel is reinforced by comfortable, homey surroundings: patterned curtains, wood lattices in front of mirrored walls, leatherette banquettes and resin-beaded chandeliers.
The drink menu consists of six "classics" and six "signatures", though many of the classics have some interesting spins - the Sazerac uses the old recipe of rye and Cognac, for instance, and adds caraway. The "Powell", a peach- and pecan-infused bourbon and sloe gin sour, arrived in a beautiful small straight-sided goblet (with an accompanying flask, packed in ice, of the rest of the drink.) Both sections of the menu featured housemade infusions and were put together with a classicist's sensibility. A mezcal concoction with baked-apple bitters was smokey and refreshing, and a rhum-agricole take on a Jack Rose was made even more novel with a bit of sherry, making for a more satisfyingly complex cocktail than the classic original. Long may this joint jump. 4/5
Address: 210 Elizabeth St. New York, NY 10012, USA
Tel: +1 (646) 588-4459
Type: Cocktail bar
The Michelin-star-winning restaurant Public has converted its former in-house wine bar to The Daily, a fun, stylish cocktail spot adjacent to the restaurant. The Daily seems inspired by the British tabloids, from its name to the headlines printed on the menu to the art: half-tone photographs with bold splashy headlines silkscreened right across their glass frames. The impressively-stocked bar itself is short and seats five, but the room has several big comfortable banquettes, and there are a few small tables, including three outdoors. Straight-ahead rock music blasts - bonus points from me for the Pixies and Black Sabbath - and one wall's covered with a large mirror, with an unidentifiable bust suspended over it and a big sign reading "Elite", flanked by metal stars. Yep, we're in arty SoHo, all right...but the room conveys attitude without snobbishness. "Cocktails made on honor, sold on merit", proclaims its website, and that's definitely a workable guidestar.
The real inspiration for the name, though, lies in the menu: everything changes every day. (And one whole wall of the place is taken up by a giant board listing what's on that day.) Each day, they have a bottled cocktail (serving two), a bubbly drink, a refreshing long drink, and drinks from the up, rocks, and bitter-and-stirred kingdoms. My Añejo Highball, with aged rum, curaçao, ginger, lemon, and bitters was just the thing for a sultry afternoon: its ginger and citrus crisply cut through the soft humidity. (In another nod to the weather, another sign proclaimed "vinho verde month", and the wine list looked inviting as well.). A Sidecar with Calvados, Combier, pear, and apple juice wasn't as balanced and was fairly acidic. 3/5
Address: 1170 Broadway New York, NY 10001 USA
Tel: +1 (212) 796-1500
The opulent bar at the NoMad Hotel is the most sumptuous bar I've seen in a long while. At the back of the restaurant off the lobby, the smallish room with soaring ceiling is paneled in dark wood and gives off a plush, clubby vibe. Two standing tables abut a beautifully smooth deep mahogany bar, and rows of label-less wine bottles, ends out, decorate the top of the back bar. A huge liquor selection is bookended by a brace of large wooden stylized elephant sculptures, which lend a bit of a Victorian air to the place. (Great well-chosen classic soul music fits with this better than I'd have thought it would.) The breathtaking room made me wish I'd been wearing a suit; the bartenders in their ties and vests looked stylish and classy. The menu offers a bunch of house drinks and seldom-seen classics, like a Brandy Crusta or a Morning Glory Fizz. There's a selection of non-alcoholic "soft cocktails", and in a town where most menus are divvied up by the drink's presentation, this menu offers a choice of "Light-Spirited", "Dark-Spirited", Aperitifs, and bespoke "Bartender's Choice."
A long drink of Suze (fiendishly difficult to find in the US), cucumber, lime, and pale ale cooled down my girlfriend, while the Dark-Spirited section of the menu caught my attention. An aromatic deep-flavoured "Satan's Circus" married rye, thai bird chili-infused Aperol, cherry Heering, and lemon to wonderful effect. The Gilsey, made with two kinds of London dry gin, pale cream sherry, kirschwasser, Cocchi Americano, green Chartreuse, and orange bitters, blew my mind with its inventiveness and superb flavour. This is the sort of place where you can drink like a millionaire...which is good, as you could find yourself drinking next to one. 4.5/5
Address: 90 Broad St. (enter around the corner on Stone St. New York, NY 10004, USA
Tel: +1 (212) 248-7220
Demi Monde, a newcomer to the Financial District far downtown, occupies a huge basement space loaded with big semicircular banquettes, enough to seat a hundred twenty or so. Small two-top tables fill in the edges in some cozy nooks, and the lounge décor, with dark red walls, an enormous chandelier, and macramé screens, seems to combine the 1980s with a few faint touches of '60s tiki bar. On some weekday nights they tend to only serve you at the bar, so be warned.
The inventive menu shows off this place's pedigree; David Kaplan and Alex Day from Death & Co. worked on the menu, along with bar manager Scott James Teague, late of Pegu Club. The bar boasts a custom carbonation system: no soda from a gun for this place, but rather a finely calibrated system with multiple taps, so that barkeeps can get the fizz just right. Indeed, of 16 house cocktails listed, several fizzes make an appearance. The house soda programme also includes various homemade syrups (strawberry-tarragon, grapefruit, and more), all made with that wonderful sparkling water, available with or without booze. Creative flavour combinations are on offer: pomme eau-de-vie with Irish whiskey; pisco with grappa and eucalyptus; Calvados and chamomile. All the drinks we had were expertly balanced and well-designed. 4/5
Address: 4 Bleecker St. New York, NY 10012, USA
Tel: +1 (212) 254-0350
Type: Cocktail bar
Of a summer's night, thoughts often turn to gin. What better time, then, to visit Madam Geneva? Naren Young and AvroKO Hospitality Group, who also operate Saxon & Parole and The Daily, have relaunched this gin-focused former backroom bar at Double Crown and made it its own spot. The short, impressively-stocked (I counted 29 separate gins) bar on the left as you enter gives way to a long communal table. Across the way you'll find several long leather couches and low tables with comfortable chairs, packed with a very pretty mixed-age crowd. The small lamps, exposed-brick walls, metal grilles, mirrors, and even hanging birdcages give the place a British-Colonial-meets-Meatpacking-District-industrial-chic feel. The very loud hipster rock only enhances that - I wanted to linger more than I did, but conversation was difficult given the volume.
The menu's filled with some really fascinating gin drinks, and the particular brands of gin seem very well-matched with the accompanying mixers. There's also a punch on offer each night. Housemade tonics and cordials fill the cocktail list, and several drinks are made with homemade jams. A Breakfast Martini of tea-infused gin, Combier, and orange marmalade had interesting flavours, reminiscent of the No. 1 cocktail at Whitehall across town, but was ultimately a bit burny, with a hot alcoholic finish. A gimlet with housemade lime cordial, Spring 44 gin, yuzu, and mint was superbly balanced, however, and went down so smoothly that it could be very dangerous indeed on a hot day. 3.5/5