The 1970s were a Danny Bonaduce–level hot mess—a cultural goulash of safety-pin punk rock and spinning disco balls, glossy Soul Train sets and gritty Scorsese flicks. This East Village booze haven—from Cocktail Kingdom barware buff and drink historian Greg Boehm—unpacks the Me Decade chaos and, most significantly, the era’s spurned drinks, a dark age when vodka and too-sweet mixers ran rampant. But instead of falling victim to ’70s-bar shtick, Golden Cadillac puts a smart spin on tacky relics, setting up the rollicking throwback joint as a cocktail-bar classic in the making.
DRINK THIS: A quaff no drinker has dared to order since Saturday Night Fever was on the big screen. The illustrated menu is awash in tropical umbrellas, toothpick-pierced fruit and démodé liqueurs like Galliano. It provides an anise backbone for the bar’s namesake tipple ($13), a decadent, liquid-dessert froth of crème de cacao, coconut cream and orange bitters. The canopy bar also mingles two longtime bar bastards, the piña colada and the frozen daiquiri, in the creamy Lava Flow ($14), laced with rich strawberry puree.
GOOD FOR: A pitch-perfect refresher on the leisure-suit decade. Barry White and James Brown blare over the stereo, while round after round of coladas ($14) are delivered to burled-wood two-tops. The food menu highlights canapés—deviled eggs ($7), mini Monte Cristo sandwiches ($9)—straight out of vintage Gourmet issues. The bathroom, too, takes cues from the era’s mags—it’s papered with old Playboy covers, with busty pinups that no doubt powered those Brady boys through puberty.
THE CLINCHER: Only a couple months in, the retro-minded spot—groovy in muted orange and mirrored surfaces—is one of the neighborhood’s most fun-loving bars. Shooting-the-shit bartenders are quick to pour free shots, but staffers know how to keep the rowdy crowd at bay: A punitive baseball bat an opening-night gift from the Attaboy crew—hangs menacingly above the shiny bar. The total set piece is equal measures grit and glam, just like the ’70s themselves.—Christina Izzo