Many of you have asked me about my favorite cocktail bars so here they are:
New York City Lower East Side
1) Death and Co: Located on 6th street between 1st and A. The space is intimate, the cocktails are amazing and the bar staff are charming. This a great place to take a date and or a good group of friends to just chill and catch up.
Insider secrets: Arrive early if you would like a seat and access to the bar. There is no standing allowed, so if no seats are no available they will take your name and number and call when there is.
What to order: Do not order a vodka cocktail, this is a place with an amazing drinks, find a spirit that you like, (other than vodka) puruse the cocktail section, be brave and order something adventurous.
p.s. They also have great food…
2) Mayahuel: Located on 6th street between 1st and 2nd. They have one of the most amazing selection of Tequila’s, Mezcal’s, cocktails and food that can be found anywhere in this city. The owner Phil Ward and girlfriend Katie do a great job of accommodating guest and making sure that they are well taking care of.
Insider secrets: They do not take reservations and accept guest on a first come, first serve basis. Arrive early to guarantee a seat. There is no standing allowed, so if no seats are available they will take your name and number and call when there is.
What to order: Did I mention that they have the most incredible selection of Tequila and Mezcal. Take advantage of this and order a cocktail from the menu that contains one of these two. One of my favorites is watermelon cocktail with a cayenne pepper/sugar/salt rim..
Food: When it comes to the food, just trust the server. Tell them what you like and don’t like, then let them do their thing. I have never been disappointed.
3) PDT Located on St. Marks between 1st and A. With only 45 seats the space in intimate and not ideal for groups larger than 6. Once inside take time to read through the menu, the stories under the cocktails are just as good as the cocktails themselves. If you are hungry ask for the menu and order fantastic hot dogs and tater totters from Crif dogs.
insider secrets: The secret entrance is through the phone booth in Crif dogs, once enter pick up the phone and the host will open the door to find out if you have a reservation or to let you know if there is seat available. The good news is if there is a seat available you may come in or to ensure your entrance call the phone number 212-614-0386a before 3pm to make a reservation.
What to order: The more outrageous the hotdogs sound the more delicious they taste. If you are not a dog fan order the tater tots, they are equally as tasty. When it comes to the cocktails take your time to read the stories that go with each one, their insightful and entertaining. As you peruse through the list you will be guaranteed to see ingredients that you will not recognized. Do not be afraid, instead ask the highly trained bartender what they are, how they taste etc.. Also they are very good at making recommendations….
4) Raines Law Room Located at 48 W 17th located between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas. The concept is truly unique, the bar feels like you are in some bodies kitchen. There is kitchen aisle in the middle where the bartenders create their cocktails, behind them kitchen cabinets, sinks etc all the feelings of intimate but retro NYC kitchen. The main room feels like somebodies living room, with intimate lounge seating containing retro couches facing each other with a coffee table in between. To order a cocktail you simple push a button, which will then light up a number in the kitchen telling your server which of the tables needs their attention.
Insider secrets: They accept reservations on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday only email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org and somebody will contact you via email to confirm you reservations. During the rest of the week they operate on a first come first serve basis. If there are no seats available they will take your name and number and call you when there is room. My favorite place is to hang out in the kitchen to watch the bartenders at work but if you are with a large group, the booths are best.
What to order: Like many of the other speakeasy RL offers an incredible selection of classics, many with their own unique twist. One of my favorites is the Corpse Reviver, I am not exactly sure what special touch Meagham Doorman (the head bartender) gives this drink , but it is the best rendition I have ever had.
5) Bar Pleiades located inside the Surrey Hotel on 26 E 76th Street and the corner of Madison. This glamorous art decor bar is like nothing else you will find on the upper eastside. (trust me I have tried) It has a elgant bar with comfy seats to settle into and surrounded it are Coco Chanel inspired lounge areas to sit and catch up with friends. My favorite place as usually is at the bar especially when barman Cameron Bouge is behind it Inspired by the famous Chef Daniel Boulud Cameron’s cocktails are thoughtful, seasonal and extremely savory.
Insider Secrets: This is place where gentleman should look dapper and ladies can be glamorous. It is not required but you are the upper eastside so you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to throw on your best duds. If there are only a few of you I recommend sitting at the bar so you can watch master Cameron at work> If you are lucky and it is not so busy you may have the chance to find out what he is currently cooking in his kitchen for the next menu. Last time I was there he gave me the secret to his La Paloma. He created his own grapefruit soda and the key ingredient was the champagne yeast that was used to create it. The second ingredient was a pinch of sea salt. I would seriously love to spend a week with that man in his kitchen.
What to order: All the cocktails are adventurous and unique, I recommend that you and your friends order one of each and slowly work your way down the list.
Next week: Join me in exploring all the great bars of Brooklyn on at a time….