Mother of Pearl

Bars, Cocktail bars East Village
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
1/5
Paul WagtouiczImperial Bulldog at Mother of Pearl
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
2/5
Paul WagtouiczShark Eye at Mother of Pearl
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
3/5
Paul WagtouiczMexican Summer at Mother of Pearl
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
4/5
Paul WagtouiczMother of Pearl
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
5/5
Paul WagtouiczMother of Pearl

Catching a breeze through white-linen curtains while downing an umbrella-decked cocktail is as close to an island escape as you’ll get on a grungy, hookah-fumed stretch of Alphabet City. For this paradisiacal 50-seat revamp of his old Gin Palace space, Ravi DeRossi (Death & Co, Cienfuegos) recruited longtime cohorts Jane Danger (the NoMad) and chef Andrew D’Ambrosi (Bergen Hill) to rehash the throw-back pours and Orient-skewing grub shaped by 1940s tiki culture. Without a single standard-issue tiki offering on the menu—no mai tais or pupu platters here—Mother of Pearl is a postmodern Polynesian affair pioneering new waters.

ORDER THIS: Beach-ready quaffs draw inspiration from their midcentury counterparts, but Danger freely riffs on those predecessors. The Shark Eye ($15) plays on a Demerara dry float, swapping the usual rum for curaçao and bourbon in a kitschy, Jaws-like cup, while the Tide Is High ($15) spices up the nuttiness of almond-based orgeat and cashew milk with smoky mescal and pineapple juice shaken to a frothy consistency.

GOOD FOR: Island flavors are given smart twists from D’Ambrosi. Kahlua-and-ginger-smothered slabs of pork belly ($26) come with oversize bibb lettuce leaves, ready to curl around coconut rice and kimchi pineapple. The uni kalani ($18) is a lofty take on a traditional Polynesian breakfast, with succulent urchin floating on a cloud of Spam-speckled French eggs.

THE CLINCHER: Like the menu, the cozy teal-and-white den is rife with time-warp nods to the Pacific isles, including retro floral-patterned banquettes, hand-carved totem pole stools and mother-of-pearl light fixtures. The effect is somewhat dreamlike—corroborated by a lo-fi pop soundtrack ranging from the Velvet Underground to St. Vincent. If you can brush off the occasional stares of passersby—the gleaming neon sign and effervescent lights garner many a sidewalk double take—you might find yourself lost in booze-soaked bliss.

By: Dan Q Dao

Posted:

Venue name: Mother of Pearl
Contact:
Address: 95 Ave A
New York
10009
Cross street: at E 6th St
Opening hours: Daily 5pm-2am
Transport: Subway: F to Lower East Side–Second Ave
Price: Average cocktail: $18. AmEx, MC, V
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|7
1 person listening

While they may try to be a classy place, they take themselves too seriously. While I was there, a small family group came in for service. They might have been a touch loud, but they were well dressed and well behaved. They were refused service. So they used the facilities and while leaving, one of them knocked over some water. I heard later that the police were called by "Pearl" personnel and had one of them arrested at a different bar. So much for hospitality. IMHO, having patrons arrested, is not the best way of handling this situation. I tended bar all through dental school and never called the police once. Better have a lawyer on retainer before going to this establishment.

tastemaker

Mother of Pearl is a Vegan Polynesian dream! The adorable glam tiki inspired decor coupled with the super sweet staff and good music make for a fun atmosphere. The shark cocktail was good and kitschy, the double rosemary daiquiri will get you drunk (seriously, I was tipsy after one) and the rosemary twist was a nice update on a classic. The platter was also delicious and would satisfy a non vegan.

tastemaker

Never had a super sweet cocktail served out of a shark's mouth shaped glass? Well, a visit to Mother of Pearl in the East Village can right all the wrongs in your life. This Polynesian style cocktail bar is a stylish and sexy date spot but also great for a girls night out or small party. The cocktails range from fifteen to eighteen dollars, so not cheap, but kinda worth it. The shark eye is really what you need to order as you won't forget this funky cocktail anytime soon. There is a small menu of vegan Polynesian snacks to much on with your fancy drinks.


It's like the set of Golden Girls and Miami Vice combined to create the beauty that is Mother of Pearl. The entrance is draped with billowing white curtains and the seats are covered in floral fabric that would make your grandmother envious. The drinks are pricey, but tasty and served with unique presentations...a red punch served in a shark mouth, etc. Definitely worth a visit especially during the summer months!

tastemaker

The cocktails are typically priced for a neighbor of Cienfuegos (expensive), but beautiful in presentation and delicious. On a Monday night we were the only patrons in the restaurant, which meant everything we ordered came out quickly and the bar staff was happy to answer our questions. Come for the shark cups, stay for the palm leaf fans.

Tastemaker

I went here this summer after reading about this place in TimeOut, among the East Village establishments this really stands out, because it's brand new and shiny. The summer vibe here is really cool, its very open, airy. HOWEVER my experience here was not top notch, when I'm spending $15 per drink I like to really do my research, I went online, read reviews, looked up ingredients and did a lot of thinking. When I asked the bartender for his suggestions because I liked sweet drinks he said to me "well all of the drinks are sweet, but not too sweet", when I asked for further clarification he said "They all are a little bitter, but not too bitter". Once again I was still unsatisfied so I went for the prettiest one, the shark drink. The wait staff was a little stuck up and the drinks were ok.

Overall this is a good place to take out of towners for a cool instagram but not much more.