344 Bowery, New York, NY , 10012, United States
Tel: +1 (212) 388-0148
Website: View bar's website
Style: Pub contemporary
Price guide: Middling
Images By: diffordsguide.com
The Wren is a cavernous gastropub on the Bowery, but one that emphasizes its cocktail programme alongside its good selections of beers and straight spirits. The big long room is divided into several bays, all with high ceilings, making an airy space lit by Edison bulbs and decorated with bunches of willow branches in wall niches. I camped out at the long bar in the front (there is a second bar downstairs), in between beautiful people on dates and shaggy hipster types discussing digital photography. The leather-bound menu has just seven house cocktails on it, but they're trying to hit several bases and please the crowd: the vodka drink with St. Germain and citrus, the applejack highball with cider, the spin on the Old-Fashioned with cherry liqueur, the tequila drink with pepper and homemade grenadine. Many of the drinks have sweet or fruity sides, with berries or jam often finding their way into the shaker.
The "Great Jones" (Famous Grouse Scotch, black walnut bitters, and maple syrup) demonstrates an interesting use of walnut bitters and a good combination of flavours, but also decidedly on the sweet side. We followed up with a smoky take on a Manhattan, using equal parts rye and bourbon with an Ardbeg Scotch rinse, which was a pleasant variation on a familiar theme. The Wren is a pretty good gastropub (with decent fish and chips) with a decent cocktail programme, though you might say the focus is on the food.