Most big-deal cocktail dens were launched by a singular personality (see: Jim Meehan of PDT, Phil Ward of Mayahuel). Toby Maloney—a bartending O.G. at the legendary Milk & Honey and Pegu Club—boasts enough star power to roll out a spot on his own. But the gifted drinks slinger, along with business partner Jason Cott, recruited top cocktail talents Joaquín Simó (Death & Company) and Troy Sidle (the Violet Hour) to form something of a booze-powered Fantastic Four. The team has set up pioneering bars across the country in places like Nashville (the Patterson House) and Chicago (the Violet Hour), as well as working on consulting gigs in Gotham. Pouring Ribbons marks the all-star squad’s solo debut in New York, with one of the year’s most exciting new drinks menus and a capacious teal-daubed barroom.
DRINK THIS: The selection offers drinkers a fresh approach to picking their quaff (each $14). Each tipple is measured on two scales: refreshing to spirituous (how boozy do you take your drink?), and comforting to adventurous (do traditional or quirky flavors appeal?). In the mood for a potent classic? Try the Sweet Valley High—something of a martini-negroni mash-up built with refreshing Tanqueray No. Ten gin, sweet vermouthlike Cocchi Americano, a splash of bitter Campari and floral St.–Germain. Or for something that falls in the middle, order the crisp autumnal sipper Ragin’ Glory. Old Overholt rye whiskey and pear brandy form the cocktail’s base, which is brightened with lemon juice and spiced up with homemade cinnamon bitters.
GOOD FOR: Novelty-seeking cocktail hounds, civilized group boozing and a second-date hideaway. Located above a scruffy liquor store on Avenue B, the airy second-floor drinkery is appointed with milky Art Deco lights and wood paneling. Claim a barstool to watch a pro expertly stir your drink in a beaker-like glass, or settle your crew into one of the cozy dark-gray banquettes.
THE CLINCHER: Chartreuse—an herbaceous high-proof liqueur made by the Carthusian monks since the 1700s—is revered by drinks geeks the world over. Here the French spirit takes a turn in the limelight with a special list of 15 different bottlings. School yourself on the difference between 2012 Green Chartreuse and the mellower, sweeter yellow version ($6 per ounce). If you order an aged vintage (like a 1970s Yellow, $22.50 per half ounce), bartenders will pour a gratis taste of this year’s product for a side-by-side comparison.