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Nov 7, 2008 02:10 PM

Favorite Cocktail Specialist Bar

I'm a big fan of well-made cocktails and I was wondering what people's favorite bars were.

I have been to the following (in order of preference):

1. Death and Co - Easily my favorite despite the waits (the cellphone system makes it not so bad). Huge fan of The Conference, the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, and the food is great too. Bit loud but I don't mind that.

2. Little Branch - I haven't ever had to wait long to get in somehow and the drinks are on par with D&C. I like the Chet Baker and the Rusty Nail.

3. Allen and Delancey - Their new drink menu is SO good.

4. Angel's Share - IMO the drinks are a notch below the my top three, but still great. Very romantic.

5. Freeman's - Also excellent cocktails. Not wild about the crowd and service but I want to try it again.

6. The Randolph - Good drinks but wasn't a fan of the doorman

7. Pravda - Had the WORST drink I have ever paid for there (Mandarin Sidecar). Their martinis are all right but most of them just use vodka so they aren't that interesting).

Also this is more of an aside but Hearth usually has some interesting drinks on their menu.

I'm interested to hear what people think of PDT, Pegu Club, Apotheke and any others that I am missing out on. Don't think its worth getting a membership at M&H so I don't really need to hear about that.

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  1. Pegu Club is my favourite, I never miss it when in Manhatten. The bar has an old school asian cool sophistication feel to it, very dim lighting, cocktail waitresses dressed in charming asian like mini kimonos..soothing and relaxing.

    The cocktails are works of art, leaning on the classic side rather than funky fusion. My favorite part of a Pegu visit is.. the bartenders/mixologists themselves. Park yourself right at the bar and start up a conversation with them, they usually love it, they know everything (or it seems that way to me after a few cocktails). Alistair from London was my great advice on where to go have fun in the village afterwards.

    I've gone other times with friends and sat at a table..totally different experience. I definitely prefer the bar and watching the drinks being made. It's always been a little on the quiet side, I've never experienced huge crowds or waits. Couldn't love it more.

    1. I think you'd like Tailor (Eben Freeman), WD-50, or Yerba Buena (Artemo is ex-Pegu). D&C is probably my favorite with PDT a close second. I always try to sit at the bar at all of these.

      What about Flatiron Lounge? I like the drinks a lot but it's often quite crowded and loud, so I usually end up going on off nights. They allow standing, and pretty popular, so it's closer in feeling to Pegu.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        NY Mag just had a tid bit about a butternut squash WD 50 is doing right now, looks terrific!

        1. re: MsAlyp

          I love their current fall drinks. The walnut infused cognac is especially inspired. And there's very little wrong with brown butter rum in my book!

      2. I'm totally on board with you on Death & Co., Little Branch & Angel Share... These are my go to destinations for cocktails of the highest order. The Americanas at D&C are out of this world...

        my foodie blog:

        1. I definitely agree with you about Death and Co, my favorite as well. Quiet but not too much, and amazing drinks. If a person likes scotch, the Myra Breckenridge will blow you away!
          Milk and Honey my next favorite, definitely along the same lines. Just a few bucks more expensive, almost a bit too hush-hush, and has been poorly responsive to requests for res. lately. Rumours they're going completely private may prove true...
          Pegu club didn't impress me as much, though I must admit I sat at a table as there was no room at the bar... but it was too crowded, "seen and be seen" type crowds, and drinks weren't as good as at other places.
          PDT-worth it to give it a try, and also to order hot dogs and see them slide through a secret cubbyhole at the bar. Neat concept. However, once again, the drinks were not quite as exquisitely crafted as at Death or M&H

          Along these lines, anyone tried out the cocktails at Rouge Tomate yet? Also curious to find out how Apotheke is...

          1 Reply
          1. re: orthorunner

            Your cocktail experience at one of these places depends so much on
            - whether or not you're sitting at the bar
            - who's bartending that night
            - and whether you're there on an off night or Thursday-Saturday
            - if you're drinking classic cocktails vs. stuff from their custom house list (and if it's a new/seasonal drink from the house list or it's a signature drink)

          2. About a year ago, b-flat (tribeca) was making excellent cocktails in a terrible atmosphere; iIdon't know what their status is today.

            Brandy library (tribeca) makes surprisingly good cocktails considering its known for its phenomenal whisky list, though they are a cut below some of the ones on your list.

            SB3 (EV) also makes great cocktails in a relaxed environment (provided you don't head downstairs).