Employees Only vs. Death and Co. vs. Pegu Club
Please share thoughts on each place compared to the others in terms of overall experience, quality of cocktails and atmosphere. Thanks.
Pegu Club - faux Asian decor, waitresses in kimonos, much more touristy crowd, line out the door on weekend nights. Spacious and they allow large parties, who can kind of take over the space if they get too big. Quality of the cocktails can vary upon who's making them (on occasion I get something too sweet or with overmuddled mint). There's a special bartender (bartenders?) who are in charge of table service. Cocktail list is very mint, lime, ginger-beer heavy as primary ingredients. They just revamped the food menu, haven't tried it yet.
D&C - more laid back crowd, dark lush cloth interior, lots of crystal chandeliers. Good but expensive food (really like the warm pretzels). Crowd tends more towards hipsters and locals. A little more crowded, especially the 2-tops along the banquette. Cozy booths. Giant cocktail list organized by spirit and method (stirred v. shaken), with about 75 cocktails, everything I've tried so far has been great, especially the infusions (jalapeno infused tequila!). Love the metal julep cups they've been using.
Haven't been to EO, sorry.
You've hit the nail on the head with those two bars so I'll handle the latter:
EO - Interesting, 1920s atmosphere. Antique bar, mustachioed bartenders, no diet soda. Dim lights and the roaring fireplace make this an inviting place for dinner and/or drinks. The crowds of analysts, i-bankers and their hangerson make for a very obnoxious din, though the high quality of the classic and original creations behind the bar as well as the chef's high-quality food keep everyone coming in.
I agree with kathryn's assessment. Pegu Club has gotten really touristy in the past few years, and as such, the old guard of bartenders have fled for greener pastures at Weather Up and Death and Co. I remember reading a glowing write-up on Pegu Club in a US Airways or United in-flight magazine, which was kind of the final killing blow.
Death & Co definitely has a hipster vibe, and an awesome and imaginative cocktail menu. I've made D&C my default cocktail place in the EV, edging out Angel's Share and PDT.
For Pegu, it's better to go on an off night, sit at the bar, and go early. Basically, you could say that for any popular cocktail lounge though! The bartenders aren't slammed, you get your drink quicker, nobody's taking any shortcuts, you can ask the bartender questions if you want, and I love watching bartenders make my drink. You can also get some of the flourishes of cocktail making, where you watch their shaking and straining techniques or any other fancy footwork they do. I stopped into Tailor last night, and it was pretty quiet (the main restaurant was closed) but the drinks were really well made.
Actually, if you're looking for something like Death and Co., I'd recommend Tailor. The list is shorter than D&C's and they got rid of the absinthe gummy bears and solid cocktails (alas, they weren't listed on the menu), but it's got a similar atmosphere. I recommend the kumquat caipirinha, the kaffir collins, and the santana sling. The fried oysters Rockefeller we had was also really good.