485 5th Avenue (in the Andaz 5th Avenue Hotel), New York, NY , 10017, United States
Tel: +1 212-601-1234
Website: View bar's website
Door: Go early
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: High-end
Images By: diffordsguide.com
Occupying a large elegant space hidden beneath the Andaz Hotel in Midtown, the Bar Downstairs is a bit difficult to find. But find the discreet sign, descend a long stairway from street level, and pass through a door (oddly guarded by a sculpture of a gilded rat), and you're welcomed into a chic open-plan gem of a bar.
Banquettes line the walls, but several long communal tables encourage conviviality as well. Two of these large walnut tables serve in lieu of the bar, with a bartender standing at one side while customers take the other three. A relaxed, welcoming feel is coupled by an extensive, creative cocktail list by Toby Maloney of Alchemy Consulting and Chicago's Violet Hour.
The bar's signature cocktail is the Cellar Door, a blend of Pimm's No. 1 Cup, lemon, bergamot syrup, Sailor Jerry and allspice dram, and it's aromatic and balanced. We also found the El Embarcadero (Herradura Blanco tequila, pineapple, agave nectar, Carpano Antica Formula, Tobala mezcal) complex and fascinating. Another winner was the 22 Galleons: a deceptively simple-sounding mix of Scarlet Ibis rum, demerara syrup, and Benedictine, served atop one gigantic ice cube: a big alcoholic punch rewarded by herbal interest.