New York nightlife virtuosos Vito Dieterle and Joseph Schwartz (Little Branch, Middle Branch, Silver Lining, The Ship, Stop Time) have created another instant classic with the Django, a subterranean jazz club in the catacombs of Tribeca's Roxy Hotel. The hidden hotbed of live music pays homage to the Jazz Age in Paris, boasting vaulted ceilings, dramatic vintage lighting and a curated selection of craft cocktails and small plates.
The Fried Oysters Herbsaint ($21) steal the show, with the golden morsels nestled in creme fraiche accented by whispers of sweet fennel. Clams Dieterle ($16) sing in a beautiful bacon broth resounding with chili and garlic. Couples may find the restaurant's well-seasoned steak tartare, the oversized Kannibal Toast ($24), a bit awkward to share, but there's a simple solution to this dilemma: Don’t share. You won't want to part with a single rhapsodic bite, anyway.
Once the floor show starts at 10pm, the space transforms into an années folles spectacular of dancing and laughter, all egged on by an exceptional selection of cocktails ($18 each). With a full roster of familiar classics and original concoctions, there's a drink to suit every taste. Newcomers to the bracing trend of bitter cocktails are well-advised to try the Bandersnatch, a re-imagined Negroni. Gin, red wine-based byrrh and fino sherry make for a complex sip that is nutty, bright and only mildly bitter. Other exciting variations on classic quaffs include the Champs-Élysées, a twist on the Prohibition-era Last Word, trading French cognac for the typical gin.
There's little not to love about a place that knows how to do bread and circuses with this much panache. When the drinks are flowing and the band is playing, the Django is sheer magic, a fever pitch party as Gatsby had dreamt it: inhibitions melting into the dark night, revelers dancing in candlelit corners, bright smiles flickering in flame.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER OMAR TUNGEKAR