Tag Archives: Cocktails

Please Don’t Tell

10 Aug

YOU try not telling.  I’m no Peter Pettigrew, but it’s hard not to get a little razzle-dazzled by a suave secret bar hidden in a hot dog joint.

How do you get in?  Try Crif Dogs at St Mark’s. Try the vintage phone booth in the corner.  Try dialing a number on the old-school phone and try NOT squealing when what you thought was the wall swings open to reveal a low-lit bar full of cocktail-swillers.

Speakeasy gimmicks aside, Please Don’t Tell is a sexy place. The cocktails, while steep, are a delicious take on Prohibition classics (Old Fashioned made from bacon-flavoured bourbon, anyone?) and they look pretty-as-hell. And the menu features Crif Dog’s deep fried and sour cream-schmeared classics, as well as a tasty miniburger and the momofuku tribute Chang Dog. Extra kimchee please!

Who comes here? Not the hipsters, thank God, ’cause this place is old news.  Duh. But if you want to impress the out-of-towners, or, um, yourself, then get your ass here because unless you’re stupid, you know that drinking cocktails and eating hotdogs is a Good Thing.

Image courtesy of Please Don’t Tell.

The Dutch

6 Jul

We love things that are Dutch, right?  Tiny pancakes.  Hagelslag.   Re-using mustard jars for drinking glasses.  (Ok maybe not that one so much.)

So it follows: we love The Dutch.

Part trendoid bar, part almost-fancy restaurant, The Dutch is in the heart of Soho and blasts with flirty, shouty, 3o-somethings in shiny shoes. If you can elbow your way past the loved-up beautiful people and make it to the bar, slick bartenders will mix you up something wondrous — like a snarky New York Sour, a fresh, chartreusey  Sullivan Street Fix-Up, or a simple and elegant gin and tonic — heavy on the Tanqueray.

If you REALLY want to fit in here though, get your puppy dog eyes on… Because I’m pretty sure every Dutchman has a crush on the restaurant’s chef, Andrew Carmellini. Really.  And I’ll tell you why.

He’s no Damien Walters, but the man has skills. He is the creator of The Dutch’s sloppy duck, the champagne seafood ceviche, the creamy eggplant dip that will bring tears to your eyes — as well as something mysterious called Asian Whiteboy Ribs. The creator of a crumbly corn bread to nibble on with your drinks.  Of the sweetest rabbit potpie and house-made fries taste like they are HEALTHY.  The guy even foraged for the first melon of the season!

If you don’t lust over the chef or his late night menu, maybe it’ll be the selection of American whiskeys? The smooth, oak-lined bar?  The leafy view out of the wide open windows?  Less so the wait staff, who are either a touch snooty or just playing hard to get.

You might have missed Koningnnedag this year, but The Dutch is worth celebrating any day.

Images from The Dutch and New York Times (Evan Sung)

Nurse Bettie

26 May
If I owned an actual fur coat and had been able to squeeze it in my suitcase, I definitely could have worn it last night to Nurse Bettie.  Less so to Backroom, the opulent speakeasy where we were headed, and where fur-clad girls’ birthdays are ruined on a regular basis, apparently.

Just as we were high fiving after NOT being foiled by the red herring signage (Lower East Side Toy Co – chuh) and NOT being stabbed by a junky in the pitch black alley, some not-so-well-heeled Manhattenites careened down the steps behind us, rattled a door and announced drunkenly that Backroom was closed.

And so we were welcomed into the buxom breast of Backroom’s smuttier next door neighbour, Nurse Bettie. NB is quite the classy dive – all exposed brick, low lighting and top shelf offerings.  An extended happy hour including cheap but oh-so-classy cocktails ensure that clientele is a mix of tipsy ladies with smudged red lipstick and gentlemen dapper in their (second-hand) suits.  And of course us, and a dishevelled German tourist who stumbled in later: the waylaid Backroom-seekers.

Pin-up bars are few and far between, and the novelty of peeing under the watch of a host of smouldering Bettie Paige angels warrants a visit to the bathroom at least.  Anywhere you can sprawl on leather couches and drink a G&T for $5 without having to watch a football match is worth a visit in my book – and at $14 a creamy Night Nurse cocktail is hardly a splurge.  Best of all, Bettie has a healthy weeknight dance floor culture that flourishes under the watch of a bevy of handsome bartenders.

It’s the suavest cheap drinking in the Lower East Side.  Or so say the people who haven’t made it next door…

Nurse Bettie
106 Norfolk Street
Lower East Side, NY

Image: Club Planet, Tom Sibley Photography