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Chinato interior
Photograph: Karen Cen

This new LES cocktail bar comes from a Double Chicken Please alum

And there's a Snoop Dogg-inspired drink on the menu

Written by
Christina Izzo

There's no shortage of cocktail bars in the Lower East Side, but that doesn't mean we'd ever complain when another new drinking den gets added to the fold, especially when it comes from an alum of one of our favorite spots in town. 

Ray Zhou, former R&D captain of Double Chicken Please—the experimental Allen Street bar that took the top spot on this year's North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards list—is behind Chinato, a new immersive barroom opening at the corner of Stanton and Ludlow Streets on Wednesday, September 20. (The spot soft-opened this week at limited capacity, accepting reservations only and serving a truncated menu.)

RECOMMENDED: The 23 best cocktail bars in NYC, from Attaboy to Bemelman's 

The name "Chinato," or "China-to," references Zhou's own beginnings in the port city of Dalian in Northeastern China and his later immigration to New York City, and the concept reflects his decades-long experience in the city's cocktail scene. (Prior to Double Chicken Please, he was the beverage director and head bartender over at Queens tiki bar The Compass.) 

Unsurprisingly, the drinksand the drink-makingtakes center stage: the 1,200-square-foot space is centered around an island-style bar where patrons can see all of the interactive, tumbler-shaking action from all angles. There's also a more traditional five-seat bar area with black-leather tufted stools, as well as additional table seating for 20 guests. 

The opening cocktail menu (see a sample lineup below) takes inspiration from music: the "Vermouth" was inspired by Digby Vermouth's "Supernova Dreamsicle," with both dry and semi-dry vermouth, quinquina, husk cherry, bergamot and osmanthus; while the "Gin & Juice" is, of course, a nod to Snoop Doggy Dog himself, the titular yogurt-clarified spirit joined with Earl Gray tea, grapefruit, strawberry, rhubarb and Campari.

Chinato’s Taco
Photograph: Karen Cen

Zhaojin Dai, sous chef at the two-Michelin-star Jung Sik, developed the bar's food program, which includes Asian-accented plates like a rice bowl with veal tongue and shiitake, fluke tacos with seaweed and orange, and fries with wasabi and soy.

Starting on September 20, the bar will be open Wednesdays through Mondays from 5pm to 1am, but for now reservations are available from 6pm to midnight. 

Chinato - 19
Inspired by “Chinatown” - Bleachers
Chinato, lychee, bayberry, goji berry, Ming River Baijiu, bourbon

Vermouth - 17
Inspired by “Supernova Dreamsicle” - Digby Vermouth
Dry & semi-dry vermouth, quinquina, husk cherry, bergamot, osmanthus

Gin & Juice - 19
Inspired by “Gin & Juice” - Snoop Dogg
Gin, earl gray , grapefruit, strawberry, rhubarb, Campari, yogurt clarified

Rum and Coco Cola - 19
Inspired by “Rum and Coca Cola”-The Andrews Sisters covered by The Barberettes
Rum, pineapple, kola nut, lime, dry riesling, coconut milk clarified & carbonated

Tequila - 19
Inspired by “Tequila” - Champs
Tequila, tomato, bell pepper, pineapple, habanero, corn, lime, egg white

Whiskey Lullaby - 21
Inspired by “Whiskey lullaby” - Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley
Bulleit Rye, Talisker Storm, blood orange, cherry, rooibos, Chinato

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