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S’Zen Art & Cocktail Lounge

Bars, Cocktail bars Lower East Side
3 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranThe Panda at S'zen 
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranHinomaru at S'zen 
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranKuzh at S'zen
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranS'zen

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

The mash-up of vibes is right there in the name: S’Zen—the new cocktail bar and art gallery inside Hotel on Rivington, from Rivington Hospitality Group and the notoriously colorful Albert Trummer (Apothéke, Sanatorium)—is a portmanteau of scene and Zen, but the only thing more puzzling than the bar’s pronunciation (the S is silent) is its purpose. Mixing plush decor (jewel-toned velvet couches, dark-wood walls), Japanese-themed cocktails, loud oldies (the Beach Boys, the Beatles) and bright avant-pop paintings, the second-floor lounge seems more discordant than either part of its name suggests. But what salvages S’Zen is what should salvage every bar: the cocktails.

ORDER THIS: Trummer’s artful Asian-inflected quaffs include the Panda ($14), which blends Don Q Coco rum so seamlessly with white crème de cacao and coconut milk, you’d think you’re drinking a vanilla milk shake. The Hinomaru ($14), named after Japan’s flag, goes down easy, with 12-year-old Japanese whiskey and a citrusy kick from blood orange and yuzu juices, plus sweet hints of yamamomo berry and honey to mitigate the tang. The Kuzh ($14) is another tasty fruit option, brimming with fresh bursts of lemongrass liqueur, hemp syrup and freshly squeezed lime and pineapple juices.

GOOD FOR: A multitasking night of drink sipping and art viewing. The compact 40-seat barroom moonlights as ground zero for Art on Rivington, a visual-arts program curated by Corey Lane and Hitomi Sasaki, who also operate Café Medi and the Jia lounge inside the hotel. A recent night saw Peter Mars artworks of pop-culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe, David Bowie and Mick Jagger hanging in the main room and available to purchase for a couple grand each.

THE CLINCHER: Due to the small square footage and intimate tables, the space is clutch for catching up with your nighttime companion. If the drinks alone don’t get you chatting, solid small plates like a beautiful striped wild-bass poke with radish and crispy quinoa ($14) will give you something to talk about.


Address: 107 Rivington St
New York
Cross street: between Essex and Ludlow Sts
Price: Average cocktail: $14
Opening hours: Thurs–Sat 7pm–1am
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