Just after announcing a flurry of 30th anniversary festivities for Union Square Cafe, the restaurant that launched his empire, Danny Meyer is gearing up to premiere his first stand-alone bar, Porchlight. The Southern-inflected drinkery—outfitted in reclaimed wood, concrete floors and a namesake "porch" stage for brass and jazz bands—is slated to open on Monday, March 2 in Chelsea.
A partnership with Blue Smoke comrades Mark Maynard-Parisi and Jean-Paul Bourgeois, the cocktail lounge aims to weave Southern hospitality with New York sophistication. "I don't see it as a clash," Maynard-Parisi says. "It's an amalgamation that brings together the best of the South with the best of New York and creates something very special."
We previewed the menu last night, including updated Southern cocktails like a cognac Sazerac, house-bottled whiskey-and-cola and even a Hurricane. The whiskey-forward list also includes a New York Sour frothed with egg white and a rye-cardamaro Flagg Day named for Meyer's landlord-friend Chris Flagg (the building is also home to Union Square Events).
The trio's beer selection hops across the country, with a range of suds (double IPA, amber ale, stout) coming in from local breweries like Ommegang and Mason-Dixon areas like South Carolina. On-tap wine (pinot grigio, merlot) is sourced from upstate winery Channing Daughters, while bottled vino options (chenin blanc, grenache) are rooted in France. Shareable plates include smoked beef jerky, spicy bourbon-glazed bar nuts, fried frog legs and Natchitoches spring rolls, a reinterpretation of the Louisiana meat pie. 271 Eleventh Ave at 28th St (212-981-6188, porchlightbar.com)
PorchlightPhotograph: Filip Wolak
Flagg Day at PorchlightPhotograph: Filip Wolak
Behind the Mule at PorchlightPhotograph: Filip Wolak
Sazerac at PorchlightPhotograph: Filip Wolak
Gun Metal Blue at PorchlightPhotograph: Filip Wolak
Smoked swordfish at PorchlightPhotograph: Filip Wolak