Where to drink this week: Silver Lining

Live jazz and craft cocktails cohabitate at this Tribeca bar.

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Silver Lining

    Vieux Carre at Silver Lining

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Silver Lining

    Silver Lining

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Silver Lining

    Silver Lining

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Silver Lining

    Silver Lining

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Silver Lining

    Charcuterie plate at Silver Lining

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Silver Lining

    Negroni at Silver Lining

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Silver Lining

Vieux Carre at Silver Lining

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Some neighborhoods have all the luck. One can drink extraordinarily well in Williamsburg and the East Village, bopping by foot between buzzed-about bars all evening. But in Tribeca, the trophy hunt for a well-made cocktail has only recently begun to turn up game. Venues like Macao Trading Co. and Ward III served as beachheads for a new crop of accomplished drinkeries: First there was Brooklyn spin-off Weather Up, and now the brand-new Silver Lining, a venture from Little Branch vets Joseph Schwartz and Vito Dieterle, along with Sasha Petraske. That the place is helping to hydrate a once-dry 'hood is reason enough to applaud it, even if some of the details—a pedantic menu, clumsy bar food—still need ironing out. There's a sense of occasion in simply crossing the bar's threshold: The long brick-walled chamber lurks at the foot of a dim stairwell inside a majestic 154-year-old townhouse; after 9pm every night, the blast of horns and tinkling piano keys can be heard rumbling through the corridor.

DRINK THIS: Though management says a more traditional menu format will debut this week, half of the preliminary bill of fare we sampled was—to put it bluntly—sanctimonious. Classic cocktails were grouped into categories, with blocks of text explaining how they are linked via recipe tweaks. (Under a "lime drinks" header: "With white rum and sugar served up we have a daiquiri. Try the same with gin and you have our gimlet.") This family-tree approach is fascinating for cocktail obsessives, but awfully alienating for everyone else. Which isn't to say the drinks aren't fantastic. Bartender's choice is the move here: Name a spirit and a few specs and let the skilled staff do their thing. "Rye, spirit-forward, stirred" got us a pitch-perfect Vieux Carre—a New Orleans--born quaff of whiskey, cognac, vermouth and Bndictine, served over a dazzling rock (pictured). A request for something rich and swizzled produced a Queens Park, with fragrant mint and ripe aged rum layered over pebble ice stained orange with Angostura.

GOOD FOR: Dealing a coup de grce to a demure date. Challenging your consort to identify some of the portraits of jazz greats hanging behind the band (Dexter Gordon, Louis Armstrong) is an easy opening salvo. Let the excellent drinks and sultry music weaken what's left of his or her resolve. One caveat: The crude food (bone-dry lamb sliders, mealy bagna cauda with limp veggies) could make your tte--tte go flaccid fast.

THE CLINCHER: New York is lousy with venues offering craft cocktails and ones that spotlight live jazz. But enjoying these two noble pursuits in the same place has been nigh impossible. Silver Lining bridges the gap with a serious lineup of talent (Tadataka Unno, Gary Versace) curated by Dieterle, who moonlights as a tenor sax. The room is set up in deference to the band—the white-clothed tables face a baby grand—but the volume is never so booming that an intimate conversation can't be shared in some shadowy corner. Those who are serious about the music should consult the bar's Facebook page for updates.

75 Murray St between Greenwich St and West Broadway (212-513-1234).

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