New York City-Lower West Manhattan
May 11, 2018
Taking over the former Australian-themed Kingswood, this 1960s-influenced bar hits multiple trends: a revitalized West Village scene; high-quality cocktails served in a relaxed social setting; and bars treating food menus as seriously as the drinks. Veteran bartenders Jim Kearns (the NoMad Hotel) and Jon Neidich (Acme Bar,) and restaurateur Nick Mathers want tired, thirsty New Yorkers to forget their high-pressure lives for just a moment, with escapist decor evoking the Midcentury optimism of California and Florida. Stylistic palm tree wallpaper, blond wood furnishings and a conversation-inducing horseshoe-shaped bar complement drinks that bring an element of fun to the table. The bar offers well-made signature drinks like the Link Ray (celery, suze, simple syrup club soda and your choice of jalapeño tequila, rum or gin) or the classic Gibson (gin, vermouth, house-made pickled onion) which gets an upgrade with a mix of sweet and dry vermouths. But Kearns insists there is a “no judgement” rule in place at the bar: You want a vodka soda and cheap beer? Order it. You can also customize signature cocktails with a range of spirits offered for each drink (those seeking a more formal approach to cocktails should visit the bar-within-a-bar concept, Slowly Shirley, downstairs). Those seeking New York’s best burger would do well to put this spot on their ever-growing bucket list. Also: An alligator head “hiding” on one of the shelves. Reservations for parties of six or more only.