The mystique of prohibition lives on at Melrose Umbrella Co., a pedigreed saloon from the inspired minds of nightlife bigwigs Austin Melrose, Ian Shepp and Zach Patterson (Bagatelle). Step inside this next-level watering hole and, quite suddenly, it's 1933. Antique chandeliers illuminate a whimsical, high-vaulted space (formerly The Foundry, though you would never know) of exposed beams, salvaged fireplaces and a rear bar made from a late-1800s apothecary cabinet. Immaculately attired staff shake up some of the best drinks in town thanks to Patterson and his buddies Julian Cox (Comme Ça), Josh Goldman (Sotto) and Paul Sanguinetti (Stark Bar). What the nine-option menu (five house specials and four classics) lacks in quantity, it makes up for in craftsmanship. These are strong, sophisticated, shrewdly balanced and, most importantly, accessibly priced swills ($6-$14). There's no better place to raise a glass to the end of prohibition.
Good for: A low-key hangout with highbrow cocktails. Bare-boned architecture lends a warm, rustic vibe to this neighborhood haunt of modest airs—no trick doors or password-protected peepholes here. The space is plentiful, the drinks are never boring and imbibers don't come to get trashed. They've simply meandered inside to make some new acquaintances, so lingering until last call is a given.
The scene: It's a posh crowd of handsome gents and good-looking gals sauntering from bar to table and back to bar again. Groups can reserve the homey space for private parties. Sultry jazz tunes and candle light also make Melrose Umbrella Co. a couples paradise: with intimate seating and vigilant cocktail waitresses, canoodling remains uninterrupted along the perimeter of the venue.
The bartender says: Patterson and his crew aren't messing around with this drink program, which is expected to change every season. The staff has been rigorously coached to fashion these cocktails to perfection using custom infusions, homemade syrups and fresh juices.
The playlist: The space is hooked up with a sound system, so a DJ is inevitable. The good news is that the music—an eclectic mix of funk, reggae and jazz—is never so loud that it drowns out the fabulous conversation you are having with your new best friend.
Drink this: Settle in with a Patterson's Nap ($10), named after the bar manager himself. The Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Campari offset the sweetness of tangerine and lemon. Next, try the easy-on-the-eyes Soda Jerk ($12), served in a daiquiri glass and garnished with a cherry. It's a perfect blend of rum, bitters, almond-flavored syrup and ginger beer. And for a unique drinking experience, don't skip a nitrogen pour of the digestif Fernet Branca on tap for a mere $6.