You enter the Ladies’ Room through a curtain near the bathroom of Fat Rice Bakery. The brighter lights in the bakery, filled with tables of diners, make you feel slightly ridiculous waiting for a hush-hush cocktail experience. But it’s all right, because after a short wait next to the pastry shelves you’ll find yourself in the dimly lit, reservation-only cocktail bar.
Once your eyes adjust to the red glow dominating the space, you’ll notice just how tiny this little bar is—only a handful of two-tops and three tables set for groups of about four, showing just how ready the place is for date night. There’s a board or card game at each table, reinforcing the Chinese-gambling-hall feel of the 19th- and 20th-century Macau red light district that inspired partners Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo.
Cocktail lovers will fall for Conlon’s menu, filled with non-traditional recipes and ingredients you might not expect to find on a cocktail menu. It’s divided into a few sections, including “Classics Reimagined,” “New Mad Style,” “Tea[s] for Two” and “Big Guns.” Under “Classics Reimagined,” you’ll find cocktails with somewhat familiar names, like a White Negroni and Dr. Manhattan. But they’re not quite what you’ll expect—the Dr. Manhattan, for instance, is packed with rye, vermouth and house-aged elements from what the bar calls “speculative Dr. Pepper ingredients,” turning it into a fruity but boozy departure from a traditional Manhattan.
Cocktails in the “Tea[s] for Two” section come in hot and cold varieties. We were convinced by our server (who on this night was Conlon himself) to go for the hot, herbaceous gin concoction, which turned out to be a great choice. It comes in a huge teapot and is poured into two gorgeous teacups. The hot tea (Rare Tea Cellar’s Freak of Nature) makes Letherbee’s gin and Onu Tuica Romanesca (a plum brandy made in collaboration with Fat Rice and CH Distillery) hit your tongue with a liquor-forward bite that you’ll fall for. It embodies what the Ladies’ Room is—Conlon and Lo’s speakeasy dream, featuring interesting cocktails packed with ingredients you won’t be able stop asking questions about. Arrive prepared to be adventurous, and you’ll fall in love too.
Atmosphere: Dark and red with pinup posters all over the walls, which lend a cozy date-appropriate feel combined with the scandalous allure of a gambling hall.
What to drink: The Dr. Manhattan and the Hot Tea for Two.
What to eat: There’s a small snacking menu; we went for savory crab chips served with ketchup, but you might want to save your appetite for Fat Rice. And if you plan on playing a game, you’ll find that your table will become crowded quickly, leaving you wondering where you’re going to put those chips.
Where to sit: Your table will be chosen for you before you set foot in the Ladies’ Room—don’t bother trying to control it. But you can see the whole space from any table in the bar area, which means you won’t miss out on a thing.