"Turn left at the ketchup dispenser,” a red-capped burger flipper will tell you after you’ve spent ten minutes lost and confused at the West Village Five Guys. Yes, tucked in back of the patty joint is a clandestine staircase leading to a second-floor loft, rigged with glass chandeliers, a fireplace mantel tumbling with dusty hourglasses, and a well-stocked bar run by Hotel Chantelle commodore Kyle O’Brien and Riff Raff’s alum Gavin Moseley. And with its art-house crowd (lanky, long-haired rockers, red-lipped broads in leather-daddy hats) and equally creative cocktails, this clearly ain’t your average burger bar.
ORDER THIS: The cocktail menu—12 drinks total—is divided between classics (gimlet, Sazerac) and house creations ($14) like the LTT Continental, an exceedingly drinkable gin-and-grapefruit number, and the Rosarita Stick Up, a highball that looks dainty—capped preciously with rosebuds—but packs a boozy punch with tequila and Grand Marnier, soothed with rosemary-thyme syrup and a whip of egg white. Ask the bartender where they got the drink’s name—the story alone is worth the price tag.
GOOD FOR: A laid-back alternative to fellow hidden gem, PDT. The attic bar echoes the East Village staple with its sneaky fast-food-joint facade, but unlike that posh mixology mecca hidden within Crif Dogs, there’s no pesky same-day reservation system or long waits here. Instead, the copper-ceilinged drinkery boasts a pop-in breeziness, seemingly retained from the space’s days as a no-frills sports bar, Bleecker Heights Tavern.
THE CLINCHER: Yes, there are burgers. Flag down the bartender to have a patty slapped on the griddle downstairs, but the offerings go beyond the basic beef on a bun. Exclusive, in-the-works creations include the Italian Neighbors, swaddled and stuffed with Ottomanelli Brothers prosciutto; the Sixth Man, which is spiked with sriracha, five-spice powder and mustard seed; and the house specialty, crowned with steak-marinade dust and Peter Luger steak sauce. Fortunately, you’ll be too sauced yourself to give a damn about calories.—Christina Izzo