The Pegu Club
New York City-Lower West Manhattan
May 11, 2018
Before sunset, light fills the bar through intricate patterns on north-facing windows, adding a romantic glow to the minimally decorated bar. Happy hour, which runs from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. offers $10 craft cocktails, both seasonal and classic, making the special the best deal in SoHo, if not all of Manhattan. At any hour, you’re here for the fresh-pressed juices of all varieties, from tomatillo to watermelon, house-infused boozes (like Earl Grey vodka) and incredibly knowledgeable mixologists behind the bar.
Pegu Bar opened in August 2005, just when New York’s craft cocktail craze launched. Founded by New York City mixologist Audrey Saunders, the bar was inspired by a Victorian-era gentleman’s club (i.e. lots of gin) of the same name housed in Myanmar in the late 19th century. Of course, all are welcome at Saunders’ well-lauded contemporary lounge and dozens of gin options, as well as other traditional and not-so-common liquors (like aquavit), are offered on the multi-page menu. True to the original Pegu Club’s location, Asian flavours are prominent on the short bar snacks menu (chicken satay and sesame oil fried shishito peppers) and in some beverages like the shiso-pear daiquiri.
While New Yorkers are always eager to find the next hotspot, Pegu Club is an anomaly in that it’s a mainstay not trying to keep up with trends. Sure, popular ingredient combinations and Instagram-friendly cocktail creations have evolved in recent years – I recently saw a woman order an “orange juice with vodka” presented with many a garnish, unprompted. That said, visiting Pegu isn’t about trying the of-the-moment beverage or getting the perfect selfie, but rather understanding a piece of Manhattan’s cocktail culture and, of course, unwinding with a great drink.
Main photo credit: http://nymag.com