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NYC answers to London's high-end cocktail bars?

In the wake of the NY Times article on London's most serious purveyors of proper cocktails, I was wondering who in New York is operating at this level: serious, creative, with an eye on really old school (pre-Prohibition) classics, chef-like use of interesting ingredients, and globetrotting for exotic liquors. Fabulous atmosphere and barware are a plus.

I've been to Pegu Club, Flatiron Lounge, and (though its cocktail craft doesn't live up to the atmosphere) Campbell Apartment. My to-try list includes Milk & Honey, Little Branch, East Side Company Bar. I've seen this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/335967 ; any other suggestions?

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  1. this is a pretty popular topic on chowhound. employees only is another option. in my opinion, this is already a very tired topic. just go to milk and honey these days and its filled with total wankers. any good bartender knows how to make a quality drink.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sam1

      Agreed: any good bartender knows how to make a quality drink. The problem, of course, is that the good bartenders of the world are vastly outnumbered by the halt and the lame: undertrained, unschooled, disinterested, thinking about their next audition, just following the owners' desire to serve candy-flavored rookie drinks, etc.

      As to the "wankers" comment, I'm perfectly willing to do what many Chowhounds do: endure unpleasant patrons, drive long distances, ignore ugly atmopshere, etc. if the place serves up something extraordinary.

      So, any Manhattan Chowhounds who aren't bored with this topic, please chime in.

    2. the thread has pretty good suggestions, other than that, gin lane is worth popping by-they also serve food -haven't eaten there but the menu looks good (specially if they actually use properly aged gruyere on the french onion soup) and the decor is great for winter.
      5 ninth is also has great old school cocktails (and sparkling red wine mimosa for brunch)

      1. death & co., which recently opened on e.3rd st (i think), has been mentioned in several articles as a new contender in the "serious cocktails" stakes. waits of up to 2 hours for a table at peak times, apparently, so you might want to find out the hours and try it at an odd time.

        i'm off to look up the ny times article now, although no matter what people are doing at the highest levels it doesn't change the fact that the state of mixed drinks in london is generally abysmal.

        1. MC Slim JB, what did you think of Pegu Club and Flatiron?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Blumie

            Enjoyed both of them enormously: incredible cocktail craft, tons of options to reward experimentation and repeat visits, superb (warm, friendly, professional) service, great atmosphere.

            Flatiron was close to uncomfortably packed on one visit, but for some reason we were given a table right away, and the crowd was gracious and relaxed despite the crush. I prefer the Flatiron's retro look; Pegu seems more generically sleek and modern to me, though it's a very handsome space, too. I haven't tried the food at either.

          2. there's also the new hype-y place 'gold bar'...i think its on delancey. death and co as someone mentioned, brandy library (which actually is a great bar), and angel's share.