Brewhounds have plenty of beer halls and beer gardens to keep the suds flowing, but what about their cider-loving counterparts? To be honest, there's not much outside of tap takeovers and tastings during Cider Week in the fall. That's where the Queens Kickshaw team comes in.
In early March, Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler—the husband-and-wife team behind the Astoria beer-hall–restaurant—will unleash Wassail, the city's first cider bar on the Lower East Side. Aptly located on Orchard Street, the lounge is named for a wintertime drinking ritual to ensure good apple harvests. The menu will feature between 80 and 100 bottles and 13 drafts, plus plates like mushroom escabèche and layered potatoes with fava beans, turnip and gribiche from chef Joseph Buenconsejo (The Lion).
Lim and Sandler aren't new to the cider game: Since first opening the bar-restaurant, the pair has added three dozen selections to the list at Queens Kickshaw—after finding inspiration at a Hudson Valley Cider Week event more than three years ago. At Wassail, the duo will expand their reach, culling together both international and domestic ciders from Spain, France, Ireland and, of course, New York. They're also developing a cocktail program using apple- and pear-based spirits like Calvados, apple brandy and pear eau de vie. 162 Orchard St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (no phone yet, wassailnyc.com)