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Inventive Cocktails in (lower) Manahattan

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Inventive Cocktails in (lower) Manahattan

jerryc123 | | May 20, 2010 11:23 AM

I will be with four other adventurous eaters who will be spending a food-and-drink-centric four-day weekend in lower Manhattan.

And, because I am the serious cocktail enthusiast in the group, people are relying on me to recommend the cocktail places to visit.

My interests are in inventive, classic cocktails with infusions, bitters, and fresh ingredients. Generally I eschew vodka, and anything fluorescent colored or sweet.
I've been following the scene for a while, and have my own preconceptions and ideas, but I would appreciate anyone's advice and information.

First, some background: Five foodies, on a budget, who will be (mostly) casually dressed, and traveling Manhattan in search of fine dining, cheap ethnic street food, restaurant supply stores, grocers, farmer's markets, bakeries, salumerias, craft beers, and well made cocktails. Mostly from downtown, through Chinatown, SoHo, the villages, NoHo, up until Midtown. I mention this, so that you may get a mental image of the five of us walking, riding subways, windswept, and probably with bags of bread, charcuterie, and wine in hand. What I am trying to say is - we should probably not visit Bemelman's Bar at the Carlye, this time round, since we will not be in our suits and finery.
Fully prepared to pay the approximate $15 for a good hand-made drink, and more likely to have just one drink per person and then move on to the next place.

Already definitely on the list:
Painkiller: thenew tiki bar on Essex St, I've already read some great things about their new place.
Mayahuel: I've read only good things about the Mezcal-focused cocktails, and the menu of small tapas-style plates will be perfect for our group.
Spotted Pig: for pints of cask-conditioned ale.

Now, to add a few more options, here are the additional places I was contemplating...

PDT: Originally, I intended to take everyone here, because of the speak-easy schtick with the hidden entrance, but I've read some recent mixed online reviews. Has PDT jumped the shark and been on auto-pilot for a while? Or have customers just tired of the speak-easy, and just getting snarky now?
Raines Law Room: It's the romantic, old-fashioned part of me that is attracted to the speak-easy entrance and Victorian ambiance inside. But is it style over substance?
Little Branch: Another speak-easy that has long been on my list, but now I am having second thoughts. More snarky customer comments apperaring on NYTimes, yelp!, and urbanspoon.
Death & Company: Also on my long-time to-do list. Still as inventive as ever?
Apotheke: I've stopped in once before, prior to opening hours, and was impressed. Because we spend a good deal of time in Chinatown, this place will probably fit in.
Clover Club: Slick website. Lots of drinks on the menu. Has anyone been here?
Pegu Club: World famous. Must visit?
Flatiron Lounge: This place was on my list, but now, for the life of me, I can't remember why.
Double Crown/Madam Geneva: I'm intrigued by this place that is all gin-based.
Elizabeth: I've been reading a lot about Somer Perez, and her cocktail consulting. Elizabeth looks more like a nice restaurant, but is it a cocktail destination?
Rye House: Looks like they opened in November of last year. Anyone know anything about them?

Anyone have any thoughts on these places? Any new places that deserve our support? Any bartenders that are doing creative things in obscure places?

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Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Little Branch
22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

Flatiron Lounge
37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

Pegu Club
77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

Bemelmans Bar
35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

Apotheke
9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

Raines Law Room
48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

Mayahuel
304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

Rye House
11 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

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