Revenge is a dish best served cold—and at this two-story midtown saloon, it’s a cocktail served chilled. The vengeance comes at the tumbler-shaking hand of Doug Quinn, a barroom baron who put in a decade behind the stick at P.J. Clarke’s, where he became known for his nearly photographic memory; his ability to pair a face with a drink order is the stuff of legend. In a shock to loyal regulars, Quinn was fired midshift in the summer of 2012, following a falling-out with the manager. But Quinn has made his own way with this dark-wood oasis of classic cocktails—located a ballsy two blocks from the venerable burger bar.
DRINK THIS: Quinn does right by the classics, offering purist takes on the chest-thumping Bobby Burns ($16)—herbal Bénédictine tempering zesty Angostura bitters and the smoky bite of Monkey Shoulder Scotch—and, at the opposite extreme, the delicate, floral Blue Moon ($16), gin and lemon perfumed and hued purple by crème de violette.
GOOD FOR: A drink-slinging man cave. It’s no all-boys club, but the dude-to-dame ratio skews toward the former. Quinn’s bowtie collection—he’s a Turnbull & Asser and Vineyard Vines enthusiast—hangs behind the mahogany bar, while taxidermied deer heads and weathered Frank Sinatra news clippings line the walls (Ol’ Blue Eyes is also on the juke).
THE CLINCHER: Scrawled on a chalkboard are “Quinn’s Laws,” a roundup of sacrosanct edicts to live and drink by. Most are the kind of saccharine stuff you’d find crocheted on a throw pillow—“The present is a gift”—but one stands out, bolded: “Mediocrity sucks.” Quinn is anything but a mediocre bartender—he can pour a pint and stir a cocktail without ever peeling his eyes away from the waiting throngs. It’s that hardworking, fast-talking zeal that elevates Hudson above similar midtown pubs, yanking the tavern out of the storied shadow of his former employer. In a coup from Quinn, revenge never tasted so good.—Christina Izzo