The flapper is a well-known figure of the Roaring ’20s. Less prominent is the moga, an independent-minded woman from 1920s Japan who listened to jazz and dressed in Westernized fashions. East and West are both well represented at this Japanese-accented cocktail bar in Soho, decked out with tin ceilings, vintage chandeliers and walls dotted with retro advertisements; the menu features yōshoku-style food and cocktails stirred with ingredients from both hemispheres (lemongrass shochu, pistachio-cranberry maple syrup). Mogas, meet Manhattan.
ORDER THIS: Milk & Honey alum Becky McFalls-Schwartz pads the bar’s rich cocktail list with plenty of considerate, shochu-packed concoctions ($14). The Woman in the Dunes is a liquid ode to the late Sasha Petraske, the revolutionary founder of Milk & Honey who trained McFalls-Schwartz and passed in 2015. A play on Petraske’s Dominicana cocktail, the decadent, barley-shochu–spiked drink touts a strong amaro flavor that gives way to malted java notes thanks to coffee liqueur and heavy cream. The Arcade Smash has a similarly single-subject focus: Here it’s citrus, with Poire Williams, four lemon slices and an orange wedge, soothed with fresh floral notes from lavender honey and cane-sugar shochu. Don’t order the Mystery Train if you’re looking for a margarita substitute—the drink’s tequila blanco is practically wiped out by sticky-brown nocino, going down like whiskey with a light vanilla-bean sweetness.
GOOD FOR: Exposing a closed-minded friend to Japanese fare. If your buddy insists on pubs every time you go out, expand their palate with Asian comfort foods from chef Takanori Akiyama (SakaMai): panko-fried shrimp ($12), a hamburger steak with a demi-glace ($21) and a four-cheese curry gratin ($15). A photogenic omurice ($16)—a chef dramatically slices open a folded, soft-cooked omelette with an oversize knife to let its gooey egg interior run over a mound of fried rice—is a must-order.
THE CLINCHER: The female-fronted bar not only serves wine and spirits primarily from woman-run companies, but the bar itself boasts a female founder and designer. Plus, a dollar from each sale of the namesake Moga cocktail, which subverts the usual “girly” cocktail with whiskey, rum, aged plum liqueur and bitters, benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the ACLU. Who run the world?
|Venue name:||Bar Moga|
128 W Houston St
|Cross street:||between Sullivan and Thompson Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu, Sun 5pm-1am; Fri, Sat 5pm-2am|
|Price:||Average cocktail: $14|
|Do you own this business?|