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Aug 10, 2008 01:47 AM

Cocktails in Manhattan [Moved from Spirits board]

Howdy, I wiil be in town in a few weeks and was given some places to check out by my Bartender/Mixologist.
Pegu Club
Employees Only
Please Don't Tell
Death and Co.

Anyone spent time at any of these? I love a great and well made drink but don't want to feel like I'm in school or being lectured on the art of proper cocktails. Money is not the issue, feeling comfortable and welcome are. Thanx

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    1. all great palces - PDT is one of my faves. no one will lecture you, they will leave you alone, or talk to you about cocktails as you wish.

      i would add angel's share, little branch, and tailor to your list

      2 Replies
      1. re: thew

        Agree about PDT but please note you will probably need reservations. PDT is very small.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          and you can only get rez by calling at 3 pm

          but if you don't mind a little wait, they will take your name and cel number and call you when they have a table or space at the bar. if you show up at 6 during the week u can almost always get aseat at the bar

      2. I have been to a couple of places on my trips to NY and I always go back to Bar 89. They make the better drinks I have ever tasted. You should try it. However, it is not a trendy place where the beautiful people go to see and be seen. It is only a nice place to unwind with a great drink and the best nachos in town.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cricri7

          LA hound - don't waste your time at Bar 89, not even remotely in the same league as the wonderful places you've been told to visit, or those listed below by Kathryn. These places make rtheir own juices, bitters, esoteric ingredients and celebrate the art of cocktails. bar 89 is not in their class. I am sure they make a great bar drink that complements their nachos, but it is apples and oranges.

          1. re: chow_gal

            Taste is very personal and I have been to Pegu and will continue to stick to Bar 89. Personally, I don't like pretentious places and for me Pegu fell in that category. It is true that I like classic drinks like martinis and cosmos and don't care much for a lavender martini, I saw that once...brr..brr..., so Pegu was not up my alley. I had a dirty martini and it was less than ordinary.

            I heard great things though about Little Branch and Employees only by a bartender who said that they made great drinks there.

        2. IMO the best are PDT and Death & Co. Death & Co has a larger menu, though. PDT is very very small. Reservations highly recommended, but the bar is always first come, first served, and if you're into cocktails, the bar is the place to sit. D&C does not take reservations. Both D&C and PDT are "no standing allowed" bars.

          In Manhattan:
          Death & Co
          Milk & Honey (if you can get in)
          Tailor (drink downstairs in the lounge, not the main restaurant, and try one of the crazy "solid" cocktails for fun)
          Pegu Club (it gets crazy crowded on the weekends though, and quality depends greatly on the bartender, the drinks are better at the bar, not the tables)
          Flatiron Lounge
          Employees Only
          Little Branch
          Angel's Share
          B Flat
          Brandy Library

          Heard good things about the bar at Grayz and Bar Milano, too. Both of these are restaurants, not cocktail lounges, though.

          In Brooklyn:

          1. Employees Only is lovely. Pegu Club a little more corporate, but blessed by Dale DeGroff (and run by his chief protegee). Death & Co. is super-pretentious - - I'd skip it in favor of sidling up to the bar at Freeman's (a Lower East Side restaurant) or Edward's (Tribeca restaurant with fabulous friendly little bar).

            If you want the place to yourself and you're looking for old school, try the little side-bar at Cafe des Artistes (near Lincoln Center) or any of the upper east side grande dames - Bemelmans, etc.

            3 Replies
            1. re: eleeb

              Freeman's is very nice but it does not match the others on the OP's list.

              1. re: eleeb

                Pegu really has slipped and become very hit or miss (more the latter recently,) as mentioned above. Death and Co still have the bext cocktails in Manhattan . . . Clover Club in Brooklyn. Brandy Library is also a personal fav . . .

                1. re: eleeb

                  Disagree about Death & Co. being pretentious. They have always been super professional, friendly and accomodating with me, and I'm not the clubby kind. Plus the place is beautiful. Great spot to impress out-of-town guests. And their juleps, in the little antique engraved silver julep glasses and bursting with mint leaves, are an experience in themselves. I highly recommend.