Downtown booze connoisseurs frequent this so-called library, the only one we can think of where liquor lines the walls. A novella-size drinks menu lists a glossary of spirits and 100 cocktail options, among them the Corpse Reviver (gin, lemon juice, Lillet Blonde, Cointreau and Pernod) and the Jarnac Ginger (cognac, bitters and ginger beer). Paying $13 for one of these earns drinkers a basket of gratis gougères (warm cheese puffs).
At this venture from mixologist Jason Kosmas (Employees Only) the menu takes a separate-but-equal approach in its presentation of Chinese and Portuguese flavors—inspired by the cuisine of Macao, Portugal’s last colonial outpost in Asia. Some dishes showcase one ingredient as both European and Asian renditions. As for the sipping crowd, its focus is on the decadent drinks. A cloudy Mah-Johng, a Rob Roy rendition featuring Scotch sweetened with a splash of vanilla liqueur, is smooth but devastatingly strong; the gin-based Bashful Maiden, with its blend of elderflower liqueur, falernum syrup, lemon and pureed melon, is a mellower choice.
Come for the beer (they’ve got a 99-label strong collection that includes brews like Chimay and Duvel) and stay for the chicken? The “Wing Ding” special promises two hours of unlimited, wings, fries and booze for just $22. It’s a fine distraction…assuming the 15 flat-screens don’t do the trick.
At this well-heeled Tribeca drinkery, the sounds of piano keys and shaking jiggers find a common stage inside a majestic 154-year-old townhouse. Little Branch vets Joseph Schwartz and Vito Dieterle, along with Sasha Petraske, have transported their studied classic cocktails to Tribeca, and Dieterle—who moonlights on the tenor sax—curates the talent. The excellent drinks and sultry music are perfect for dealing a coup de grâce to a demure date. One caveat: The crude food (bone-dry lamb sliders, mealy bagna cauda with limp veggies) could make your tête-à-tête go flaccid fast.
Eat Out Award–winning wine bar Terroir, from sommelier Paul Grieco and chef Marco Canora (both of Hearth), gains a larger sibling with this Tribeca outpost. The list of more than 150 bottles has been expanded, but as at the original spot, emphasizes selections that best express their terroir, or sense of place. Eight taps, meanwhile, will dispense six beers, while two lines will be dedicated to special selections of fermented grape juice. A wine-friendly menu from Canora will also be available.
While the decor borders on decrepit (TriBeCa Tavern may be a contender for Manhattan’s Worst Restroom), it’s actually quite homey: Ample tables provide plenty of seating space, but the real prize is up front, where a cozy enclave provides patrons with a view of bustling West Broadway. The friendly bartenders are more than happy to whip up whatever drink you desire, though the reasonably priced draft beer, served by the pitcher, is really the way to go. The standard digital jukebox and surprisingly good sound system, like most things at this great little bar, sound better than you would’ve thought.
There’s much more to running a drinks destination than a great cocktail. Which explains why this austere bar nails all of its drinks but flubs so much else. The drinks list features some inspired creations, like the Singer, combining muddled raspberries and rye, and the Sweeter Heater—a tequila cocktail with white pepper, basil and hot sauce. But only the basic bar snacks—dates wrapped in bacon, flaky spinach-cheese phyllo pockets—are solid food options. It’s just as well that the rest of the grub is so hit-or-miss: The generic setting doesn’t invite settling in, anyway.
Richard Boccato (Dutch Kills) steers a well-balanced cocktail list featuring a mix of classics—like the Revolver, which softens the bite of bourbon with coffee liqueur and orange bitters—and original quaffs. Of the latter, we liked the pleasingly bitter Kensington Fix, made with Plymouth gin, simple syrup and earthy Amaro CioCiaro. Pair the booze with smart snacks from Tyler Kord (No. 7), such as luxurious oyster platters, or baskets of excellent house-made potato chips. While prices are high, there’s plenty of polish to be found here—right down to the immaculate ice that's harvested and cut on site.