On our radar: Chalk Point Kitchen and The Handy Liquor Bar
A restaurant-bar where you can have your kale and drink it too
The plum restaurant space at Broome and Sullivan has been a food-world revolving door: The sweet and savory Sam Mason haunt Tailor, Julie Reiner’s tiki trendster Lani Kai and, most recently, lesbian social club the Dalloway have all found short-term homes there. But Matt Levine—the nightlife practitioner behind LES hot spot Sons of Essex—just may have found a shtick that sticks: His clubby split concept boasts country-in-the-city homestead Chalk Point Kitchen upstairs and a piano-bar throwback, the Handy Liquor Bar, on the lower level. The combined efforts make for a sceney joint—bartenders are bowtied, the clientele leggy—but playful small plates and smart riffs on textbook cocktails warrant the buzz.
ORDER THIS: Skip Chalk Point’s mains—instead, rack up a roster of toothsome snacks from Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori (Las Vegas’s DJT), like creamy, quivering burrata, springy in a cloak of Meyer lemon and diced cucumber ($18), or whisper-thin slices of speck, tartly paired with sliced apple and a snowcap of salty aged Parmigiano-Reggiano ($17). Some of the upstairs cocktails are more gimmicky than good—see the kale martini ($15)—but a healthy dab of wasabi adds a welcome jolt to a “farm” margarita ($13). Better yet are the below-deck quaffs: An old-fashioned gets a zesty Oaxacan overhaul with tequila and firewater bitters ($13), while an absinthe-spiked Sazerac ($13) does the old standard proud. (Fun fact: The bar’s named after 19th-century barman Thomas Handy, who created the modern rye-and-bitters Saz.)
GOOD FOR: A well-soundtracked booze interlude. While the upstairs roost is dominated by ’80s synth, the playlist at the leather-clad cellar bar is more Motown Pandora, courtesy of a glowing Wurlitzer juke stocked with Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. A 1950s baby grand hosts live jazz players on Friday nights and a four-piece band performs on Saturdays, as punk portraits of CBGB-era Blondie and the New York Dolls—from legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen—sneer from the lounge’s mahogany walls.
THE CLINCHER: The It-crowd vibe of Chalk Point, bolstered by fashion folk and enough celebrity sightings (Tilda Swinton, Padma Lakshmi) to fill Page Six, is offset by the hidden, fireplace-lit hang beneath it. You can see and be seen all you want upstairs, but if it’s some one-on-one time with a clove-soaked Negroni you’re after, this is your place too.
527 Broome St between Sullivan and Thompson Sts (restaurant 212-390-0327, bar 212-390-1705)
Discover Time Out original video