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Cool Places for Drinks

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Looking for cool places (hopefully within walking distance) from the Parker Le Meridien.

After dinner each night, the other couple we are with has a baby they'll probably need to put down for the night but we might want to go out for a drink (or two). It will be during the week around 8-9pm. Looking for spots with cool music\vibe and maybe a view. Somewhere we can get a great cocktail, decent glass of wine or a craft beer. Wine bars are good! Not looking for a dive bar.

Thanks!

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  1. Have read that the following would be good choice for a cocktail. Will probably be out on Mon-Wed night looking for a cool place to chill but don't want to be the only one there. Any preference?

    Pegu Club
    The Campbell Apartment
    Bookmarks Lounge
    Oak Room
    Casellula

    Thanks!

    21 Replies
    1. re: boltsfan

      Bump...

      Also read that Salon de Ning at the Pennisula might be a cool spot?

      Thanks!

      -----
      Salon de Ning
      700 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019

      1. re: boltsfan

        Pegu Club is good, as is Campbell Apartment, but Pegu is not within walking distances. In fact, none of the best cocktail places are in Midtown, so if you're willing to travel, I highly recommend:

        Death & Co.
        Milk & Honey (if you can get a reservation)
        White Star
        Little Branch (personal favorite, "Milk & Honey West")
        Raines Law Room
        Apotheke

        -----
        Little Branch
        22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

        Pegu Club
        77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

        Campbell Apartment
        89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

        White Star
        21 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

        Apotheke
        9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

        Raines Law Room
        48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: loratliff

          I'm pretty sure this means I'm not "cool" enough to get a reservation, but how does one go about getting a reservation at Milk and Honey? I thought it was a private club?

          1. re: KateMW

            M&H is not entirely private. It's great to be a member, as drinks are slightly cheaper and you get priority reservations, but they also have a reservation e-mail address where non-members can request reservations, although you typically should reserve about a month in advance if you are a non-member.

            I don't feel comfortable posting the reservation e-mail on here, but it is not difficult to find.

            1. re: loratliff

              IIRC non-members cannot make reservations for any time before 1AM on Friday and Saturday, too.

              1. re: kathryn

                Yes, I think that's still true.

                1. re: loratliff

                  Yeah, I just won't ever be cool enough to get what that's fun. But thanks! I've had a number of friends that have been {with members} that thought it was cool and had good drinks, but it doesn't sound worth all the extra effort.

                  1. re: KateMW

                    I don't think sending an e-mail is too much extra effort, no more than logging on to OpenTable a few weeks before you want to eat at a popular restaurant. The drinks really are incomparable to anywhere else in the city, except for maybe Little Branch (as expected). It's worth a visit at least once to see for yourself.

                    Despite the reservation aspect, it's not stuffy or pretentious in the slightest once you're there; rather, very friendly and relaxed, particularly if you're sitting at the bar.

                    -----
                    Little Branch
                    22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                    1. re: loratliff

                      I think that the drink menu and overall bartender knowledge at Death + Company is better than any of the Sasha Petraske places.

                      1. re: loratliff

                        Well, maybe I'll make the extra effort then. I love a well made cocktail, but I don't want pretentious company while drinking it. Thanks for your help.

            2. re: loratliff

              Death & Co. looks great. What will the wait be like on a weekday at 9-pm?

              1. re: boltsfan

                You might get lucky Sun-Wed and could only wait 30 minutes-1 hr.

                On Th, Fri, Sat, I'd say about 2 hrs. if you get in at all.

                It's very hard to tell sometimes. It's not like a meal where there's a structure of appetizer, entree, dessert. Some groups stay for hours. The doorman can't really predict if someone will have only one round of drinks or five.

                How large is your group? It's a very small bar. Death & Co has only 3 booths (IIRC) that will fit 4, and only 2 booths that will fit a larger group, like 6 people.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Only 2... Me and my wife.

                  1. re: boltsfan

                    You'll have a better shot as a 2 some but it'll still be unpredictable.

                  2. re: kathryn

                    I've never seen a wait at D&C at even peak times of more than 30-40 minutes for a party of two.

                    1. re: JMF

                      My friends waited I think 2.5 hours a few weekends ago.

                      We've gone there past 11pm and the doorman basically told us to forget about it. And we've gone there, put our name down, and never even gotten a call back.

                  3. re: boltsfan

                    One plus for Death & Co. is that they'll take your phone number and call you when your table's ready, so you can go grab a drink elsewhere or walk around the neighborhood. Also, like Kathryn said, it's really hard to tell. I've had them quote me an hour and then they call me 15 minutes later.

                    By the way, be super nice to their doorman. The regular doorman (his name is escaping me at the moment) will bump rude groups down and friendly groups up, so if he says it's 2 hours and you complain, it might become 2.5 hours. ;)

                    1. re: loratliff

                      Have noted the same thing; once I was there when a couple of girls thought whispering in the doorman's ear would help their cause- he told them firmly it would be a while before they'd be called, and I know I got in long before them! If you nicely swing back by to check, they'll sometimes actually let you in if they have an opening. Also, at least on weekends, they are no longer closing at midnight; not sure when the switch happened, but it is a welcome change.

                      On a different note; I unfortunately have failed to expand beyond my favorite spots and now want to explore some west village places. If I am going on a weekend (~9ish), which is less fratty between Employees Only and Little Branch? I know it would be better to experience either at a quieter time but which would be better given the timing?

                      -----
                      Little Branch
                      22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                      Employees Only
                      510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                      1. re: orthorunner

                        Little Branch is infinitely less fratty than Employees Only, regardless of the time. I like the drinks at EO, but they let it get packed like sardines, even though they have a rude door guy who I do see turn groups away sometimes. Combine that with loud music, young Wall Street types and women with "Mrs." degrees and it's really a big turn-off.

                        -----
                        Little Branch
                        22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                        Employees Only
                        510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                        1. re: orthorunner

                          Employees Only has tables in the back room (and serves surprisingly good food), and while the front bar area does get packed the tables in the back generally open up later in the night. I'm not positive but I don't believe you have to order food to sit there. The Amelia (vodka, St. Germain elderflower, blackberry) and the Fraise Sauvage (gin, prosecco, strawberry) are two of my favorites, although I also love the West Side in the summer (vodka, lemon, mint).

                          I generally go to Little Branch if I'm having a quieter night involving more intimate conversation, and I'll head to Employees Only for more of a lively, buzzy scene.

                          -----
                          Little Branch
                          22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                          Employees Only
                          510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                          1. re: sheio

                            Thanks a lot; Little Branch it is! I am definitely looking more for an atmosphere like PDT, Death & Co, or Milk & Honey (the 3 main reasons I have completely neglected spots outside of the East Village/Lower East Side!)

                            -----
                            Little Branch
                            22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                2. A view in my experience means horrible crowds, bad music, and usually terrible (and way overpriced drinks).
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/din...

                  Here's a list of some Midtown cocktail spots:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764870

                  But as loratliff says, it's best to head downtown, especially if you want "cool" spots.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kathryn

                    Yes, a view is a trade off for watery drinks and crowds. (That's why I totally ignored that portion of the request, ha.)

                    In fact, most of the places I mentioned are subterranean or hidden down an alley; the exact opposite of a view!

                  2. Forgot to mention Employees Only. It's not my favorite crowd (a little louder and fratty), but the drinks are just as good.

                    -----
                    Employees Only
                    510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                    1. I think it is different when you are tourist with limited time. Same watery drinks and crowds for most bars\restaurants with an ocean view in SD. So I guess it just depends what someone wants when they are on a vaca on where I would send them in SD.

                      Sometimes a great view makes up for everything else.

                      When you have never been to NYC (like me) I might want to sip a watery cocktail with a great view (just once) :0)

                      Appreciate the feedback from everyone.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: boltsfan

                        I must disagree. I think you'd be better off finding your great view separately (go to the Top of the Rock) and then drinking on a separate outing.

                        I only say that because the mixology here is unlike anywhere else I've ever been and not worth missing if you even remotely appreciate good cocktails. I've taken light drinking friends to Little Branch and had them walk out going, "Wow, that was really awesome!"

                        I don't know anyone (except post-grad bridge-and-tunnelers) that willingly pays $15+ for a watery Jack & Coke just so they can have a "nice view". The whole city is a nice view, and the atmosphere of some of the places I've mentioned above, view or not, is part of the NYC charm that cannot be replicated in any other city.

                        -----
                        Little Branch
                        22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                        1. re: loratliff

                          I completely understand what you're saying... thanks for the advice.

                          1. re: boltsfan

                            I disagree about finding your great view separately. Most observation decks cost money, which you could easily spend on a drink instead. This way you get both.

                        2. re: boltsfan

                          I completely understand where you are coming from. Being able to have a drink with the great city-scape around you is a nice thing,especially when you are a tourist. If I were you, I would head to 230 Fifth Avenue. It is on a rooftop bar by the flatiron district with fantastic views of the Empire State Building.

                          http://www.230-fifth.com/

                          After you have a couple of drinks and have enjoyed the view then you can go to some of the other places mentioned in this thread.

                          -----
                          230 Fifth
                          230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                          1. re: boltsfan

                            hey bf, it may be too late by now, but 'robert' [ http://robertnyc.com/ ] atop the museum of art and design (on columbus circle) fits your criteria perfectly. it's within walking distance of where you're staying, has a good selection of craft beers and a savvy bartender, a nice vibe and a view that'll knock your socks off. i've been there a few times and have always enjoyed it; it's very 'new york'.


                            EDIT: if you go there at night, looking out over central park will resemble spectating a 'black hole', and not at all what you might see at 'city skyline' joints. that said, it's a whole lot more affordable than anything at the twc, which has poorer views anyway.

                            1. re: Phil Ogelos

                              Phil: thanks for this info - I did not know this place existed and I live about 10 blocks away. I assume from your message that you can go there just for drinks (although I can't tell from the site itself) - have you tried the food, and if so, is it any good?

                              1. re: boredough

                                I've never eaten there, bd, so I can't answer that part of your question; you can certainly go just for drinks, though, even after the museum has closed. And it really is a fabulous room.

                                [I suspect someone somewhere in that place's management is growling, "we can compete with the Modern, we can we can we can". And indeed they can; let a thousand flowers bloom!]

                                1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                  Thanks, Phil. Will have to try it out....