In New York, restaurants, clubs, and lounges can be a very incestuous business. You’re likely to see the same names overlapping various venues and events because sociality is the name of the game.
Rivalry and bitterness can ensue when it comes to public recognition especially when it come to someone you've spent time mentoring. With any professional field comes a kudos event tailored toward those in that industry. The film industry has The Academy, the internet has The Webbys, and the food industry has the James Beard Foundation.
If you find yourself going through the door marked with an illuminated lion insignia and the words Pegu Club on the corner of Houston and West Broadway in SOHO, you might suddenly find yourself mildly nervous. Perhaps you question your outfit choice. Where did you just stumble into? When you reach the top of the steps to the second floor you’re greeted with soft, instrumental yet modern music you’ve never heard before and the light chatter of casual conversation. The lighting is low. The décor is Asian in influence: low tables fill the room and patterned woodwork covers the windows and back bar. The whole thing is eerily foreign yet somehow inviting. When you sit down and have a sip of that first incredibly crafted cocktail, your inhibitions fall to the wayside. You get it now, and you love it.
When GQ decided to rate the 25 top cocktail bars in America this is what they found...
1: Zig Zag Café – Seattle
2: Angel’s Share – New York
3: The Violet Hour – Chicago
4: Clover Club – Brooklyn
5: The Alembic – San Francisco
6: Death & Co – New York
7: PDT – New York
8: PX – Alexandria, VA
9: Comstock Saloon – San Francisco
10: Holeman & Finch – Atlanta
11: Tiki-ti – Los Angeles
12: The Patterson House – Nashville
13: Eastern Standard – Boston
14: Rickhouse – San Francisco
15: Anvil – Houston
16: Arnaud’s French 75 – New Orleans
17: Elixir – San Francisco
18: Columbia Room – Washington, D.C.
19: Cole’s – Los Angeles
20: The Whistler – Chicago
21: Drink – Boston
22: Pegu Club – New York
23: The Edison – Los Angeles
24: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. – Philadelphia
25: Needle and Thread – Seattle
In its Haute Cocktails article, NY Mag has listed a few of the city’s favorite cocktail bars. For superior reporting, read about them here a la Joonbug’s description.
King Cole Bar Lounge - Midtown East
2 E. 55th Street (near 5th Avenue) (212) 753-4500
Hotel bars are often among the best places to indulge and King Cole Bar Lounge at the St. Regis Hotel is no exception. Famous for its Bloody Mary, (an apparent descendant of the Red Snapper cocktail at Harry’s Bar in Paris) this mahogany-paneled booze grotto is a haven for those who like to drink in the old style. After you’ve had 10 Gin Gimlets (and will hence have to pawn those diamond earrings inherited from your grandmother), you can lean back cozily in your comfortable bar stool and summon Dean Martin’s ghost.
The Times of London is doing its best to be the worldwide authority of cool. Yesterday’s Sunday Edition contained an expose of secret New York hotspots like Milk & Honey and Angel’s Share. It also featured better known joints like La Esquina and PDT.
Travel writer Stephen Bleach hit the town with wife Jaqui to attempt to gain entry into the coolest bars in New York. The Brits got lucky at La Esquina--the doorman was on break. They managed to sidle into Angel’s Share and PDT with no troubles but found themselves stumped on their search for Milk & Honey’s elusive phone number.
Scene: Lounge, Romantic Vibe
77 W. Houston Street, 2nd fl
New York, NY 10012
(between W. Broadway and Wooster Street)
This upscale Soho lounge is known for its mixologists who turn out superior drink creations to discerning patrons. Inspired by a historic late 19-century British officers club in Burma famous for its house cocktails, this bar has set out to revive the lost art of bartending.