Words by Simon Difford on 11-May-2015

Nitecap image 1

Address: 120 Rivington Street, (at Essex St, basement, just to the left of Schapiro's entrance), New York, NY, 10002, United States
Tel: +1 212 466 3361
Website: view Nitecap’s website
Style: Cocktail bar
Food: Tapas/plates & dishes
Established: 2014


Head down the utilitarian staircase into an intimate, dimly lit, subterranean cocktail den. Booth / built-in banquette seating surrounds seven tables with another half dozen seats at the bar counter.

This is a high-end cocktail joint bar with some pedigree, being owned by David Kaplan and Alex Day, the duo behind Death & Co. along with Natasha David. Yet, Nitecap is far from pretentious with rough exposed brickwork, subdued decor and a bar with a half dozen spirits on optic. Not to mention joke / game laden menus.

The extensive cocktail menu has sections with something for everybody, but consists mainly of unrecognizable signature drinks so you may need to seek advice from your server.

We particularly liked the Matagot from a previous menu, served short and 'up' with Linie Aquavit, gin, Dolin dry and blanc vermouths, garnished with a pickled radish. You may have to forgo the pickled radish but they they may still be able to accommodate a request for the drink. From the present aperitif selection we also recommend the classically inspired Lil' Bamboo, as much for the glass as the drink (Lustau amontillado sherry, Dolin dry & blanc vermouths, orange and Angostura bitters) and the brilliantly named Byrrh It's Cold Outside (Byrrh, Amontillado sherry, ancho infused Moscatel sherry, cranberry shrub, sparkling wine).

A lager (Pomit Special), IPA (Founders Centennial) and Belgium beer (Blanche de Bruxelles) are available on draught with a handful of interesting bottled brews. Ten wines by the glass cover most bases with sherry and port also well represented. Bites range from shrimp cocktail to beer battered fish and chips, by way of mushroom flat bread.