Paper Plane at Attaboy
Penicillin at Attaboy
Torch Light at Attaboy
Gold Rush at Attaboy
Not all spin-offs are created equal: The best retain what you loved most about the original, with enough new material to keep things fresh—Frasier from Cheers, The Jeffersons from All in the Family—while others simply crash and burn. (Remember the Hoff-as-detective train wreck Baywatch Nights? Didn’t think so.) Luckily for Gotham’s cocktail-swigging masses, this Milk and Honey offshoot—sweeping into the old space like a series takes over a stock time slot— falls into the former school, boasting characters as familiar as Frasier Crane to the Cheers crew, but with a livelier, lighter air than Sasha Petraske’s dim big-league cocktail den. From the up-tempo retro tunes (a little more Etta, a little less Ella) to the brightly lit, lived-in digs (whitewashed brick, tarnished a sign hanging on the wall), Attaboy proves a breezy evolution of the form.
DRINK THIS: Pretty much whatever the heck you want (though don’t expect jock schlock like Red Bull-and-vodka). The tucked-away Chinatown haunt, inherited by acclaimed M&H alums Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, keeps the same bespoke protocol as its forebear: At the brushed-steel bar, suspender-clad drinks slingers stir off-the-cuff riffs (cocktails $16) to suit each customer’s boozy preference. A call for a citrusy, whiskey-based quaff yielded the Paper Plane, a bittersweet balance of bourbon, potent, herbal amaro, grapefruit-like Aperol and lemon juice that deftly hit on the fruity nose without being cloying. A barstool comrade, looking for something a little sweet, a little spicy and with a lot of tequila, found every criteria met with the Torch Light, brimming with honey and lime notes and pepped with a vinegary back-of-the-throat kick of hot sauce.
GOOD FOR: Nostalgic Milk and Honey regulars and high-minded drinkers. The skeletons of the former bar still rattle around the space—the knock-and-buzz door system, the dusty tailors m&h alterations window—and wistful boozers can seek solace in Petraske-era standard-bearers, like Ross’s signature Penicillin, a still-inspiring blend of Laphroaig ten-year, honey-ginger syrup and lemon. But like its precursor, Attaboy is fine-tuned to boozehounds who know what they like but aren’t afraid to branch off, a testament to the attentive, savvy crew. With cocktail virtuosos like Ross and McIlroy tending to your desires, tipplers won’t be afraid when seemingly simple pineapple-rum sips come laced with swarthy, unexpected swirls of bitter Campari. They’ll be too busy trying to gulp every last drop.
THE CLINCHER: The railroad-slim space is as intimate as ever, but a lengthened bar encourages a more laid-back, hang-at-the-bar type of feel. Ross and McIlroy scrapped many of the intimidating M&H statutes—the reservations-only door policy, the much-ballyhooed rules of conduct (no hats, no flirting)—in favor of accessible add-ons like a credit card machine, cans of Coors and a slight price drop. In their wake is a new kind of cocktail drinkery, an easier affair with all of the prestige and little of the pretense. If Attaboy were a TV show, you’d want to Netflix the hell out of it.
134 Eldridge St
|Cross street:||between Broome and Delancey Sts|
|Opening hours:||Daily 6:45pm-3am|
|Transport:||Subway: F to Delancey St; J, Z, M to Delancey–Essex Sts|
|Price:||Average cocktail: $16. AmEx, Disc, MC, V|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
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Attaboy may be hard to find, and you may walk past it once or twice, but look for the AB on the door and keep your fingers crossed there are seats available. The bartender’s choice-only menu means you’ll have to think about what you feel like drinking. Want a refreshing gin drink? You might get a cucumber-gin sipper that’s exactly what your palate ordered. Prefer something dark and boozy? A request for a Manhattan riff yielded a mole-bitters laced rye cocktail, precisely what a cold winter’s night requires. The space is tiny and cramped, so make friends with the people next to you, and maybe they’ll let you sneak a sip of their drink.
My favorite Old Fashioned in all of NYC is made at this place, and I drink a lot of Old Fashioned's in a lot of bars :)
Attaboy has become my new favorite bar. Yes, at $16 per cocktail it's a little pricy. But...I'm not the biggest alcohol person and after going to Attaboy, I now realize that I've been drinking terrible drinks. The first ever drink I had there (a black cherry riff on a caipirinha), literally brought tears to my eyes because it was so good. I savored every drop. The hand cut ice and the metal straws also keep the drink to the correct temperature until the last drop. The atmosphere is great, too. The guys are chill, yet super serious about the drinks. I love this place.
Sadly I can't review the bar itself but I hear tell that its namesake is a vintage clothing store in Belfast in the late 1980s/early 1990s. As a frequenter of that store in Belfast I'm glad to see its heritage lives on in a more liquid state. Next time I'm in NYC I will be sure to have a drink or two in homage to John back in the day. Alan.