El Quinto Pino
401 W. 24th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-206-6900
You could while away an evening at this sleek sliver of a space, but you’re not really meant to. The diminutive offshoot of Tía Pol is all marble bar and narrow standing counter, with a paucity of chairs and servers; a streamlined selection of light bites, great wines, and inventive cocktails; and a convivial, ultracasual atmosphere—a place to stop in for a quick sip and a nibble. In other words, it’s a true tapas bar, a rare find in these parts. The chalkboard menu is practically cliché-free, showcasing delicious diversions like honey-slicked fried eggplant sprinkled with bonito, ginger-infused garlic shrimp, and a savory chickpea-and-spinach stew. The brandy-spiked frozen horchata might be the unofficial house drink, but we prefer the spare simplicity of the Madrid martini, vermouth on the rocks with an olive and a twist.