The buzz: Adding to the foray of serious cocktail bars in hotels, this one houses the world’s first in-hotel rickhouse where the team goes all mad scientist to create barrel-aged Negronis, aged bitters, white whiskies and who knows what next.
The decor: A modern twist on the Old World NYC look, it is reminiscent of the Great Gatsby’s grand hotel lobbies complete with Chesterfield sofas, velvet chairs and marble tables. The impressive backlit bar is the centrepiece of the space, offset by two rooms by the entrance housing 105 oak barrels and exotic ingredients. It’s plush, but definitely not OTT.
The drinks: A rotating list of 25 cocktails reflective of neighborhoods in Manhattan during a particular season. The map highlights featured neighborhoods, with chi-chi tipples like The Uptown Girl ($24), chamomile infused with Death’s Door gin, St. Germain elderflower and champagne with fresh lemon, sugar and egg white, for the Upper East Side and Box Office Smash ($23)—served with a side of caramel popcorn—representing the Theater District.
The food: Nouveau American classic bar bites like street-style hot dogs ($16) and mini burgers, with quinoa-based veggie ($16) or beef ($20) options. The New England classic, Maine lobster ‘roll’ ($26) is updated with avocado butter and remoulade sauce that is delicate as it is delicious, while the hot dogs are ground in-house and topped off with homemade pickles and whisky-laced ketchup. We don’t love the cheesecake here, but there’s plenty else to keep us coming back.
The music: A work in progress but is a mix of old school, alternative hip hop, indie with a smidgen of electro swing.
The crowd: Hotel guests, industry insiders and those in-the-know about this cool gem.
Why you’ll be back: It’s a swanky and much-needed cocktail spot in the Orchard hood. Ricky Paiva is quite the character (have you seen his facial hair?) and has created an inspired menu to cater to all tastes.
Manhattan is in I-S Best Bars Guide 2014. Download your copy to see where else you should be partying.