After opening in the middle of the summer, Italian restaurant Saint Theo's quickly became one of those West Village hotspots that Instagram users flock to in order to pepper their grids with striking-looking dishes. (The ricotta pasta with Calabrian chili oil has become a social media staple.) Turns out, the restaurant is actually good, serving top-notch dishes inspired by the city of Venice and the Italian coast.
Now, Instagrammers and foodies alike have yet another reason to stop by the Bleecker Street destination: Venice Bar, a new, 20-seat, Venetian-inspired cocktail bar hidden behind plush velvet, burgundy curtains by the restaurant's dining room, is officially open for business.
Inside, patrons will get to order drinks and cicchetti (traditional Venetian small bites) by crimson-colored banquets, vintage Pirelli calendars, a massive Maitland Smith mirror and Murano sconces that come straight from the Italian town.
"The original inspiration behind Saint Theo’s was actually born from the idea of cicchetti with cocktails in a classic Venetian lounge and we developed both spaces from that core vision of your most memorable vacation to Venice," explains Robert Goldman—one half of the team behind both Saint Theo's and Venice Bar—in an official press release. Before opening the new imbibing den, Goldman and partner Hotchkiss Carone actually traveled to Venice during the Festa del Redentore, an annual fireworks event held on the third Sunday of July to celebrate the end of the plague in Europe.
When analyzing the menu, we'd be remiss not to start with the classic cicchetti, in and of themselves a reason to visit the spot. Chef Ashley Rath, the executive chef at Saint Theo's, offers guests a dish of funghi fritti (beech and royal mushrooms with an anchovy emulsion), sarde in saor (fried sardines with onions, raisins and pine nuts), a tramezzino (a fried eggplant and taleggio sandwich) and the baccalà mantecato, a hand-creamed cod.
The drink menu, created by head bartender Kyle Sheridan, is also an ode to all things Italian. Go for a spritz Veneziano or opt for a twist on a classic like the St. Mark's Basilica, made with basil vodka, Malfy lemon gin, Cocchi Americano, house-made lemon, salt tincture and basil oil. Other outstanding picks include the Moonraker (Luis gin, Italicus Bergamot liqueur, vermouth and lemon-thyme tincture), the Viridian green (boubon, Vicario artichoke liqueur, lemon juice, fresh ginger and Peychaud bitters) and the Death in Venice (mezcal, lime juice, blood orange soda, Calabrian chilli tincture and fresh sage).
Interestingly enough, the city of Venice has become the inspiration behind another new addition to the city's dining scene: Bianco Latte, a new cafe in Williamsburg serving classic Venetian desserts like tiramisu, millefoglie and bomboloni. Who even needs to travel to Italy these days?