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Need a recommendation for a bar for daughter's first legal drink

Hi all,

So my eldest will be in town for a day next week from college and I'm going to treat her to a great day in Manhattan. I'm about to move from NYC after 30 years here, so I am going through some stages of grief that I am "treating" with great food and cocktails as often as is possible.

She will turn 21 the day before she arrives so I want to take her to a great bar in either Manhattan or Brooklyn where she can tell the bartender to come up with something great based on her favorite spirit for her first legal drink- kind of a fun thing that she will not be able to afford on her own very often.

So I guess I am looking for a place with a good-natured and friendly mixologist who might get into the fun of this. I'd prefer Manhattan, but my girl loves Brooklyn, so that is also a possibility.

I personally like the Flatiron Lounge, but the service is somewhat hit-or-miss.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

JT

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Flatiron Lounge
37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

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  1. My pick would be the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle.

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    Bemelmans Bar
    35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

    1. Go to the bar at Eleven Madison Park, your daughter (and you) can tell the bartender your favorite spirit, your favorite flavors, your favorite "style" of drink and they will recommend, tweek, or create a cocktail for you. If you are looking for a classy place for that first legal drink, this is it, bar (pun intended) none...

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      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      1 Reply
      1. re: Spiritchaser

        I'd choose the 21 Club (if they've finished refurbishing the bar), the Oak Room would have been fantastic but it's closed. She'd like the Monkey Bar I think.

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        21 Club
        21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

        Monkey Bar
        60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

      2. Assuming her favorite spirit isn't vodka, all of the famous mixology bars (PDT, Death & Co, Pegu Club) will be able to do this. It will sometimes be labelled on the menu as bartender's choice.

        What is her favorite spirit? Any specific neighborhood you'd like to be in?

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        Please Don't Tell
        113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

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

        Death & Co.
        433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

        1. While not as elegant a place as the suggestions above, DBGB has great bartenders, as well as yummy oysters.

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          DBGB
          299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

          1. You're a very cool parent. I don't know the bartenders at Bemelmans Bar, which David W. suggested, but the decor and atmosphere are wonderful.

            Pegu Club is also a great place to go for ambiance and well made, interesting cocktails. Never had an extended conversation with a bartender, there.

            If having a very nice, personable bartender is important to you, Employees Only employs some wonderful ones, who also happen to make very good, very strong cocktails. (I'm sure you can request that they come weak, if you need to.) Decor isn't as nice as it is at Pegu or Bemelmans, but it's no dive.

            And finally, I've really liked talking to some of the bartenders at Little Branch. They're whizzes at inventing drinks on demand, so you can ask for a "bartender's special", tell them what you like and don't like, and maybe what the occasion is, and they'll whip up something delicious. Decor in this underground space is pleasant (despite the hidden speakeasy-like entranceway) on ground level.

            Depending on the hour, it can be difficult to get into Pegu, Employees Only and Little Branch without a wait. But if you go on the early side, it probably won't be a problem.

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

            Employees Only
            510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

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

            Bemelmans Bar
            35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

            2 Replies
            1. re: michelleats

              Pegu opens at 5pm, and it's really nice to sit at the bar that early, especially if Kenta is working.

              EO doesn't open until 6pm, and LB at 7pm. Note that at Little Branch, you can't sit at the bar, so you miss out on that part of the experience.

              You could probably do a nice cocktail crawl since they're a short walk away from each other.

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

              1. re: michelleats

                I think the bartender at Bemelman's is Frank. He's Irish and has been there forever. He makes a fantastic martini! Another beautiful bar is the King Cole Bar, I love having a champagne cocktail there. Another of my faves is the Campbell Apartment.

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

                King Cole Bar
                2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

                Bemelmans Bar
                35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021