225 West Broadway, (btwn White & Franklin Sts), New York, NY, 10013, United States
Tel: +1 616-692-4943
Website: View bar's website
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Images By: diffordsguide.com
TriBeCa's The Butterfly is a bar and supper club that conjures up visions of the American Midwest in the 1950s...at least, the décor reminds me of long-ago visits to my grandparents' place in Milwaukee. Chef-owner Michael White hails from Wisconsin, and conceived of the Butterfly as a recreation of the supper clubs of his youth.
The long black-marble bar with bamboo facing dominates the narrow room, and the midcentury modern art on the walls veered close to kitsch without ever quite crossing the line. The attractive and well-stocked back bar has an enormous antiqued mirror, surrounded by mirrored molding, and the boisterous, stylish crowd packs into the space and the large banquette that fills one end of the room.
Eben Freeman, Head of Bar Operations & Innovation for White's Altamarea Group, is behind the deceptively simple cocktail menu rooted in the 1950s as well. Deceptive, because every drink sounds basic and a little dull, until you realise that they've put a spin on each of the classics. The Brandy Old-Fashioned, practically Wisconsin's official drink, gets an upgrade with a cryo-vac'd oleo-saccharum, while the Mai Tai features garam masala-infused rum in a nod to the more conventionally spiced rums. The Highball features Freeman's signature smoked Coca-Cola paired with Michter's Rye, while the Rusty Nail is made with mezcal and reposado tequila instead of Scotch, and the Drambuie is barrel-aged. The Boilermaker was a perfect accompaniment to my patty melt on rye bread: this shot-and-a-beer was a neat shot of pumpernickel-infused Dewar's Scotch with a raisin shandy back (of housemade raisin soda mixed with Wisconsin's Lakefront Birra Morini Oregano lager, which uses the titular herb instead of hops.)