I spent last weekend back in New York, which is always an odd thing for a born-and-raised New Yorker who hasn’t spent much time in the city since the age of 20.
I was in town to visit my London friends, Ben and Antonia. They had found themselves a flat in the Bowery for 10 days or so and were slowly eating and drinking their way across Manhattan and Brooklyn. How could I say no to helping them out for a few days?
I had found a cheap flight on United Airlines that wasn’t going to leave until late Friday afternoon, getting me into the city just in time for dinner. So there I was…dressed for work…on my way into the office, suitcase trailing along behind me at around 7:20 something in the morning. I plucked my iPhone out of my purse to maybe listen to some Miike Snow. But there was a voicemail. From 6:37 am. Who calls me at 6:37 am?
I’ll tell you who…United Airlines. My flight had been cancelled and they’d rebooked me on a later flight. No! No no no no no. Dinner must be had. So I hurried home, called United, and got myself on the 12 noon flight. Weekend saved.
Here’s where we drank:
Pegu Club, 77 West Houston Street. Funnily, both Simon from Dos Hermanos and my friend Joel recommended this place. While their Flash Web site is truly annoying (I’d like my mouse cursor back, please), their cocktails are lush. (Not, particularly, when you throw one down your front as I did though.) I had 1.5 Jamaican Fireflies, Pegu’s version of a Dark & Stormy. (Dark rum, homemade ginger beer, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup.) Apparently, Dark & Stormy is going to be my cocktail of 2011. Pegu make their own ginger beer and the cocktail is topped with these delicious gingery jelly candies. Long room, small tables, good golden-y lighting. Verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. For the cocktails.
The Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotel: We took a quick spin along The High Line, on Manhattan’s West Side. When we popped off the stairs at Gansevoort Street, we made a beeline for The Standard. After an eerie ride up in the lift and being shown to our table by our hostess (they seriously must have a staff weight limit, and apparently, you are not allowed to have breasts if you work there either), we settled in for a cocktail apiece before dinner. I cannot find the drinks menu online anywhere, but I can tell you my cocktail had champagne in it. The bill? $70. Plus tip. The views were vintage NYC (i.e., rooftops), and I only wish we had called ahead and booked a table for the water view. Verdict: Pricey, but worth it. Get there early though because it got a bit crowded and scene-y there towards the end. And by end, I mean 5 pm.
The Whiskey Ward, 121 Essex Street at Rivington Street: When in America, drink bourbon. A quick call out to Twitter for bourbon advice and again, Simon from Dos Hermanos saves the day. Life is funny sometimes because I asked the very knowledgeable bartender what she recommended for someone like me and she pulled down Bulleit. I really don’t drink whiskey or bourbon at all, but the weekend before, my friend Julie (from Kentucky) had a party and what did the guests clear out by the end of the night? The Bulleit. Verdict: Fun. Not a destination, but good if you like whiskey/bourbon. Get the Bulleit. Play pool with strangers.
Shade: 241 Sullivan Street. My friend Kim kept warning us…I’m taking you somewhere chill. Somewhere low-key. This didn’t bother me. Shade reminded me of Chicago’s Hop Leaf or the old Augenblick in the early days. Small. Good music. Good beer. Nice staff. We enjoyed some Brooklyn Lager and I nearly fell asleep on a stool. The Verdict: I liked it here. Simple is good.
Schiller’s Liquor Bar, 131 Rivington Street: I’m not quite sure how we ended up here. I think it was the bourbon. Maybe Ben had mapped it out in advance. But it was super crowded and full of Europeans. (Note: I like Europeans.) But when the Scandinavian woman-of-a-certain-age invited the three young Frenchmen to join her at the bar, it was time to leave. Verdict: Probably fun when quiet. Not so fun when chock-a-block.
It was really a fantastically lovely weekend. More to come next week where I run through where we ate…