GSN On The Road: NYC BAR Review: June 12-14, 2009

I had the opportunity to go to New York City a few weeks
ago, and took the opportunity to check out a variety of cocktail lounges and
bars.  As I was staying at the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan, I made Private
Park
, their unique second floor open air cocktail pavilion my first
stop.  After a six hour drive to the
city, I was in desperate need of a thirst quencher.  Upon asking for a cocktail menu, I recognized
John
Lermayer’s
name as the creator of a drink on the list; but decided upon a muddled
blackberry and bourbon concoction to start things off.  $14 was rather steep for a drink that disappeared
much too quickly, so I opted to find another location for dinner and more
drinks.

I took the subway into Greenwich Village and walked around
taking in the atmosphere.  The weather
was perfect, so I decided on a Mexican Tapas restaurant called Mercadito Grove with outdoor
café style seating.  Most of their house
drinks called for tequila, so I ordered two with dinner that sounded
interesting.  The Mercado was a blend of blanco tequila, pineapple and lime juice, and
chile pequin.  The Siempre es Pera consisted of jimador blanco, pear, lime and spiced
salt.  Both were quite tasty, and went
very well with the excellent food.

Saturday afternoon was spent exploring Brooklyn, with a stop
at Montague
Wine & Spirits
where I picked up some hard to find Amaros and a bottle
of Maraska liqueur.  The staff was helpful and the store had a
great selection.  Later, I stopped at the
Clover Club for an appetizer and a
trio of cocktails: A Lima Sour, a Bermuda Rum Swizzle and a Corpse Reviver #2 for good
measure.  I spent some time talking with Chris Stanley who was behind
the stick at the time.    I was highly impressed with not only his
knowledge, but that he was a reader of Good Spirits News!  Word gets around apparently.

Later that evening, I decided to check out Sasha Petraske’s latest venture called Dutch Kills.  If you go, be sure to bring cash as they do
not accept credit cards.  The façade of
the club was certainly unimposing as it was marked with a single glowing red
neon sign that simply said “BAR”.  Upon
walking inside, I was greeted by the host who was dressed in clothing appropriate
to the Prohibition era.  I opted to sit
at a booth, as it was uncomfortably hot at the bar.  The cocktail menu was slight with only a few select
offerings.  Nonetheless, they were
certainly impressive and affordable.  A tequila based
creation had one huge hand carved chunk of ice keeping it cool in a rocks
glass.  The other was served in a vintage
style martini glass.  Both were tasty and
well executed in presentation.

My criticisms of Dutch
Kills
are few, but in need of changing if I were to return.  There was retro style 80’s music playing
through tinny speakers, which totally killed the 1920’s atmosphere.  As well, there was literally no décor.  Very dark wood everywhere, with no period
artwork or anything interesting to look at.
Another nice touch would be something to read along the lines of the Clover Club’s informative menu.  After a long day, I had hoped for some quiet respite
and unfortunately did not find it here.

Sunday, I had to head back home, but decided to make one
more stop for drinks at the Hudson Hotel’s
15th floor Sky Terrace
Lounge.  The day was warm, so I tried a
blackberry caipirinha and a port based Collins.
With the tip, my wallet was $40 lighter; but spiritually fortified, I reluctantly
descended the escalator and began the long drive home.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, “I’ll be back.”

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