Angel's Share

Words by Simon Difford on 18-May-2015

Address: 8 Stuyvesant Street, (at 9th St & 3rd Ave), New York, NY, 10003, United States
Tel: +1 212 777 5415
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Mon-Wed 18:00-01:30, Thu-Fri 18:00-02:30, Sat 18:00-03:00, Sun 18:00-01:30
Style: Speakeasy
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes
Established: 1994

Review

This speakeasy style bar is one of New York's most legendary but at first blush looks decidedly unpromising. Ascend the stairs to a very ordinary Japanese restaurant and you will find an unmarked door on your left, looking more like the opening to the restaurant's broom cupboard than the entrance to cocktail nirvana. Behind it lies Angel's Share, a cheaply appointed, Eastern influenced lounge with booth banquettes, bare brickwork, subdued lighting and large, draped windows. Further, similar rooms lie beyond velvet curtains. Indeed in 2015 the size of Angel's Share was doubled with a second bar area and another entrance via another Chinese restaurant.

Angel's Share takes its name from the term given to alcohol lost through evaporation while ageing spirits. Above the original bar (still our favourite) a large oil painting depicts an oriental devil flanked by winged cherubs, one a little the worse for his angel's share.

Strictly enforced house rules dictate no standing, no shouting and no groups of more than four. Light jazz plays softly in the background. Sashimi and dim sum are served from the restaurant next door.

So what makes this place legendary? The relaxed atmosphere and perfectly made classic cocktails. Remember, this is the bar that gave Sasha Petraske the idea to open Milk & Honey (now closed) - hidden entrance, rules, classic cocktails and all.