Any bartender worth his salt is also a part-time therapist. Who better to listen to your crippling late-night secrets than that immobilized friendly face angling for tips? Bar Freud in Greenwich Village takes this bent one step further by creating a menu inspiring imbibers to “talk and think” as they would in Sigmund Freud’s famous therapy room.
Whereas the psychoanalyst’s domain was draped in bohemian-style Persian carpets and velvet pillows, Bar Freud is a slick, sepia-toned love letter to the Vienna of the early 1900s, with modernist banquettes, industrial pendant lights and a Rorschach-test–style painting on the ceiling.
Which isn’t much of a change from the original restaurant, Freud, that occupied the space since 2016. And, if we’re totally honest (as all good patients are), the bar doesn’t feel much different, either. On a recent Thursday night, most guests ordered golden Wiener schnitzel and cheesy spaetzle before calling it a night by 10pm.
But the new in-house beverage director, Albert Trummer (like Freud, an Austrian) from Apothéke, attempts to make Bar Freud’s new qualifier count with his flashy cocktails. On the menu, the dozenish tipples are dramatized both by creative ingredients and cheeky Freudian lingo (there’s an “interpretation of drinks” guide on the first page of the menu). The tomato-based Waiting Room, which we assumed would be reminiscent of an after-hours Bloody Mary due to the basil, balsamic reduction and habanero essence, is surprisingly sweet, like a freshly plucked cherry tomato. And the Deal Closer, laced with gin and the oddball aphrodisiac “horny” goatweed extract, is similarly fruity, with robust lemon-lime notes balanced by fresh mint, similar to a strong Southern lemonade.
Yet just as my date and I were finishing the elderflower-and–muddled-grape Viennese Vineyard and the absinthe-flambéed, whiskey-spiked Saffron Sazerac, the waitress dropped off the bill. Since it was still two hours from closing time and we had already excitedly combed through the menu to scout our final picks, we asked to order a third round. No such luck, she explained: They were shutting down due to undisclosed “issues.” Sounds like they should talk to someone about it.