Best New Hotspots in FiDi and Tribeca + a Chance to Win $250!

I was recently invited to visit the new Eataly Downtown, a stunning follow-up to Flatiron’s gastronomical ode to Italy. Located on the third floor of World Trade Center 4, the 40,000-square-foot emporium serves up everything you can imagine from freshly-shaved prosciutto to hand-pulled pasta and mozzarella, all while overlooking the 9/11 memorials. Rather than shy away from that emotional view, Eataly embraces the significance of its site with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, and plans to highlight bread-makers from around the world as a way of bringing cultures together. All of this revitalization got me thinking about how attractive the nightlife scene is in the Financial District and TriBeCa at the moment.

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Osteria della Pace. Photo: Selena Ricks-Good.

Osteria della Pace at Eataly Downtown

While there are seven dining options at Eataly’s newly-opened second New York location, Osteria della Pace is the anchor. Chef Riccardo Orfino serves Southern Italian fare in the airy, modern dining room, set behind a gem of a bar offering a large Italian wine selection and signature cocktails. 101 Liberty Street, New York, NY.

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BlackTail

BlackTail

From the team behind the Dead Rabbit (winners of the Best Bar in the World award, and also in FiDi, mind you) comes this rum-soaked ode to Prohibition-era Cuba at Pier A in Battery Park City. Enter a scene inspired by Americans’ sojourn from dry New York to hopping Havana via luxury seaplanes. Choose from nearly 50 reimagined classics such as highballs, punches, sours, Old Fashioneds, and cocktails, including four versions of daiquiries. Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, New York, NY.

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The Bennett

Meaghan Dorman (Raines Law Room, Dear Irving) helms this beautiful bar, so you already know what to expect–a touch of glamour, immaculate cocktails, and call buttons that allow for concierge-level service.  The cocktail menu includes house originals as well as fan favorites from their sister bars. 134 West Broadway, New York, NY.

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The Beekman

Coming soon: The Beekman

According to their Instagram account, The Beekman hotel is set to open in less than five days. The 1881 landmark building features a jaw-dropping nine-story atrium with a pyramidal glass skylight. Still not clear is when the hotly anticipated culinary offerings will open. Keith McNally will operate Augustine, a brasserie that we can only imagine will live up to his trademark, and Tom Colicchio will open American restaurant Fowler & Wells as well as The Bar Room, serving signature cocktails on the atrium level. 5 Beekman Street, New York, NY.

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And great news! In celebration of the launch of NightOwl 3.0 we’ve teamed up with an incredible roster of bloggers and nightlife luminaries that you’ll want to know and follow; be sure to visit their sites: John Romard of The Boston Attitude, Dara Pollak of The Skinny Pig NYC, Jess Hagadorn of JessHagadorn.com and Young Winos of DC, Ryan Shea of Manhattan Digest, Terry Dagrosa of Seduction Meals, G-LO of It’s Just the Booze Dancing, Tara Fougner of Thirsty NYC, Jane Ko of A Taste of KoKo, Nicholas Feris of The Rum Collective, and Bella Magazine.

And what about that $250 you ask?

Just go to the entry link here. Each time you take an action listed– following a blogger, downloading the app, signing up for a newsletter – you’ll get additional entries, increasing your chances of winning.

Rules: You must be a US resident and 21 or older. Good luck!

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Dizzy Recap: WhiskyFest New York

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David Blackmore and Arnaud Dalibot of Glenmorangie

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.” –Mark Twain

Toasted vanilla, sweet sherry, cedar. Prunes, dark chocolate, charred fruits. Cracked pepper, moss, smoky peat. What is there not to love about the spicy, tongue-tingling world of whisk(e)y? Clearly, not a thing, as the 12th Annual WhiskyFest New York at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square was wall-to-wall packed with whisky drinkers Tuesday night. With more than 200 exhibitors pouring drams of single malts, blended whiskies, bourbon, rum, beer, and other spirits, this was one dizzy affair.

Upon entering the boisterous scene, I made a beeline for the USBGNY booth to sip on some scotch cocktails before diving into straight pours. As expected, the drinks were complex and delish–I sampled Meaghan Dorman’s “Bagpipe Dream” (Compass Box Asyla scotch, fresh lemon juice, ginger maple syrup), Jolene Skrzysowski’s “Rustic Plums” (Woodford’s Reserve bourbon, Domaine de Canton, plum wine, pear nectar), and Hal Wolin’s “2009 Scotch Odyssey” (Glenmorangie 10 Year scotch, Laphroaig scotch, mole bitters, demerara syrup). I also had a fantastic Old Fashioned by USBGNY President Jonatha Pogash, but forgot to write down the ingredients.

John Glaser, creator of Compass Box Whisky, said the recent evolution of fine scotch as an ingredient in cocktails has made for a positive addition at WhiskyFest. “You would never have seen this five years ago,” he said.

So which whiskies did I try? Let’s see, from what I can recall there was Michael Collins Irish Whiskey Single Malt, Compass Box Spice Tree, Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, Ardberg 10 Year, The Balvenie Portwood 21 Year, Glenrothes 1991 (they were out of 1985),  Tullamore Dew 12 Year, Blanton’s Single Barrel bourbon, Highland Park 18 Year, Yamazaki 18 Year, and a most delicious Signatory Glen Grant 1976 from the Bar & Books booth. I also had Zacapa Rum, BrewDog Paradox Smokehead stout aged in Scotch casks, and more scotch cocktails mixed by kilted bartenders from St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar. There were so many more drams I wanted to try, if time and liver capacity were of no concern.

The crowd was, from my approximation, 90 percent male, 40 percent Orthodox Jewish (maybe more), and 70 percent over the age of 40, not that it matters or anyone’s counting. Thanks to Malt Advocate for organizing the event and to Kate Laufer for the invite. Slainte!

Dizzy Recap: Bärenjäger Throwdown

Grand-prize winner Kevin Diedrich, image courtesy of Guestofaguest.com

Grand-prize winner Kevin Diedrich, image courtesy of Guestofaguest.com

Perhaps you have already heard that congratulations are in order to Kevin Diedrich of Clover Club for taking the grand prize at the first-ever Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur New York bärtending competition held earlier this week. His winning drink, “The Bottom Line,” featured Bärenjäger with Highland Park 18, Manzilla Sherry, Cio Ciaro, orange bitters, and Angostura bitters. NoHo special-events-only speakeasy Woodson & Ford (643 Broadway) was host to the throwdown, where the vintage parlor decor was upstaged by a life-sized taxidermied black bear. The prop was in reference to the honey liqueur’s heritage as a 15th century aid for hunters to lure bears from their dwellings. Made in Germany, the 70 proof vodka-based honey liqueur is made with honey sourced from the Mexican province of Yucatan.

Six New York bartenders competed in two rounds–first up was Neil Grosscup of Country Club, Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room, and Kevin. Neil offered “The Limburg,” with Bärenjäger, Bols Genever, pressed apple juice, mint, and lemon juice, while Meaghan mixed the honey liqueur with Pimm’s No. 1, Rittenhouse Rye, Angostura bitters, and lemon juice for the “Five in the Hive.” The second round included Jonathan Pogash of Hospitality Holdings, Bradley Farran of Clover Club, and the people’s choice winner, Gerry Corcoran of PDT. Jonathan made “The Bee Sting” with Bärenjäger, Laphroaig, Fernet-Branca, egg white, tangerine juice, and Peychaud’s bitters; Bradley mixed the honey liqueur with tequila reposado, lemon juice, Cynar, and crème de cacao for “El Oso Agridulce;” and Gerry whipped up the “Bäre Fizz” with Bärenjäger, Famous Grouse scotch, fig preserves, lemon juice, and egg white, topped with Toasted Lager beer.

The judges for the event certainly knew what they were doing:  mixologist and spirits aficionado Allen Katz of Southern Wine & Spirits; mixology icon Gary Regan of ArdentSpirits.com; cocktail maven Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge; one of the foremost spirits trade writers, Jack Robertiello; and Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails, Inc. Judges based scores on taste, appearance, creativity, and overall delivery.

Kevin, whose drink the judges said was “an instant classic,” won an all-expense trip paid for two to Oktoberfest 2009 in Munich, Germany. Kevin’s previous bartending experience includes Bourbon and Branch, Michael Mina’s Clock Bar, CASK, Beverage Academy, The Ritz Carleton and Bourbon Steak. Gerry received tickets to the Yankees.
 
” The Bottom Line” by Kevin Diedrich:

¾ parts Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
1 ½ parts Highland Park 18
1 part Manzanilla Sherry
¼ parts Cio Ciaro
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
 
Add all ingredients to mixing glass, ice and stir strain into chilled cocktail glass. 
 
“Bäre Fizz” by Gerry Corcoran:

.5 parts Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
2 parts Famous Grouse Scotch
1 part fresh lemon juice
2-3 parts Toasted Lager beer
1 egg white
1 barspoon fig preserves
1 slice of fig for garnish

Dry shake all the ingredients except the lager, add ice, and shake again. Double strain into a chilled highball glass, top with the toasted lager beer and garnish with a slice of fig.

Bradley Farran of Clover Club

Bradley Farran of Clover Club

Judges Allen Katz, Aisha Sharpe, and Julie Reiner

Judges Allen Katz, Aisha Sharpe, and Julie Reiner

People's choice winner Gerry Corcoran of PDT

People's choice winner Gerry Corcoran of PDT

Bottlerocker of the Week: Meaghan Dorman

Meaghan Dorman, head bartender at Raines Law Room and founding member of LUPEC NYC

Meaghan Dorman, head bartender at Raines Law Room and founding member of LUPEC NYC

“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed.  If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’  They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.’ –Clare Boothe Luce, playwright and one of the first women in Congress

There are plenty of talented female mixologists in NYC, but do you know who they are? Thanks to mentors such as Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club, Julie Reiner of Clover Club, Charlotte Voisey of Hendrick’s Gin, and Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails, there’s a slew of bartenders shaking things up in the boy’s club. Since the days when women were not allowed in bars to more recent times when bartending involved more bouncer-type duties and heavy lifting, female bartenders have had to work hard to be taken seriously as mixologists. Now that mixing drinks is more about flavor combinations and individual style, there’s no reason why a female bartender can’t make a cocktail that tastes just as good (if not better) as one a man would make.

So last week it was great to visit Meaghan Dorman, head bartender of Raines Law Room and a founding member of the brand new New York City chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails). Meaghan said it became apparent that New York should have its own chapter of LUPEC because the Boston chapter, founded by Misty Kalkofen in 2007, does such a good job of promoting female-oriented cocktail culture. Meaghan said LUPEC NYC, led by Zacapa rum ambassador Lynette Marrero, plans to enhance the community of local women in the spirits/cocktail industry through charity work, education, and events.

When she is not mixing cocktails, Meaghan contributes to several publications as a spirits journalist, and she’s even a fellow blogger, with SpiritMeAway.com, and a fellow Examiner. Formerly the spirits/leisure editor of KING magazine, she has also contributed to Penthouse, XXL and Vain magazines. Meaghan began bartending in New Haven, Conn., while attending Southern Connecticut State University.  She moved to New York six years ago and has juggled bar gigs with stints in the music and media industries. If you want to visit Meaghan at Raines Law Room (48 W. 17th St.), keep in mind that the lounge has 45 seats, so call ahead and make a reservation, 212.242.0600.

“The Dizzy Dozen: The Same 12 Questions We Always Ask” With Meaghan Dorman
 
Q: What is the first thing you drink after you wake up?
A: A big glass of water immediately followed by a bigger cup of coffee. On a hangover day, for some reason I crave Pepsi in a can.

Q: What is the first thing you drink after a hard day’s work?
A: After a long night I like a stiff, sipping drink. Lately I’ve been drinking an Old-Fashioned variation that is equal parts Zacapa 23 and Elijah Craig 18 with some peach and angostura bitters.  We call it an “Amber Old-Fashioned,” after the cocktail server I first made it for.

Q: What is the most delicious ingredient in your liquor cabinet?
A:
I love Martin Miller’s Westbourne, and it’s great for making simple but tasty drinks at home.

Q: If you could sit at the bar between any two people (alive or deceased), who would they be?
A: Ada Coleman (former leading lady of The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel) and my lovely twin because she is always a good time and I don’t get to see her enough.

Q: Three favorite NYC bars:
Milk & Honey: Because I always enjoy the Mickey and Sammy show.

Death & Co: Love a place with great drinks and food. Even my friends that don’t care much about cocktails are always impressed and have a great time.

King Cole Bar at the St Regis: I love old hotel bars and this one has a lot of history and class.

Q: Three favorite non-alcoholic hangouts:
Branford, Connecticut, with my family

Fort Tryon dog park with my pug

• Strolling the tiny side streets in the village and daydreaming about real estate

Q: Average night’s sleep:
A: A lady needs her beauty rest! I always try to get 6-8 hours of sleep.

Q: What is your favorite place to shop for your bar?
A: We are lucky to be so close to the Union Square Farmer’s Market. We had a lot of fun buying local fruit and syrups this summer.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A:
Really anywhere, but especially seeing what people drink in old movies and books. I like reading old recipes and adjusting measurements and ingredients to make it something I really love.

Q: If you woke up on a desert island, what bottle would you hope to have wash ashore?
A:
It would have be something easy to drink neat, and I think a nice aged rum would fit the bill.  I love aged rums that a have coffee/chocolate profile like Zacapa XO and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.

Q: Do you have any bar-related good luck charms?
A
: I’m not superstitious about anything, but I do have a habit of collecting way more cocktail glasses than I’ll ever use.

Q: Do you have a nickname for yourself when you’ve had too many?
A:
Not so much for when I’m out (I’m lucky to have Irish drinking genes), but my friend has a saying I’ve adopted about the day after a night of alcoholic indulgence being a “Hologram Day” because you’re barely there.

Meaghan Dorman's "Amber Old-Fashioned" with Zacapa 23, Elijah Craig 18, angostura bitters, peach bitters, and demerara sugar cube.

Meaghan Dorman's "Amber Old-Fashioned" with Zacapa 23, Elijah Craig 18, angostura bitters, peach bitters, and demerara sugar cube.

Ada Coleman, early 20th Century bartender at The Savoy in London

Ada Coleman, early 20th Century bartender at The Savoy in London

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

 

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  • Mixology icon and salty storyteller Gaz (aka Gary) Regan dishes wisdom on all things gin in his new 354-page book, The Bartender’s Gin Compendium, available for online purchase now.
  • Bearded James Beard Foundation award-winner David Wondrich poured Pre-Prohibition cocktails for Stephen Colbert and invented the Colbert Bump.
  • Jonathan Pogash is reportedly working on the cocktail menu for the Empire Room, a new cocktail lounge set to open on the ground floor of the Empire State Building this fall.
  • As of July 29, NYC has its own chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails). Lynnette Marrero of cocktail consulting and catering firm Drinks at 6, Eryn Reece of Louis 649, Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room, and Katie Darling of White Star are among the founding members.
  • And if you are in the NYC area, the Fine Living Network is currently shooting a new reality series, “Bartender Wars,” at a bar on the Lower East Side throughout the month. Want to be an extra and drink for free during the tapings? Email patroncasting@gmail.com with your name, age, number, recent photo, and desired meeting time.