F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.; B, D, F, V at Broadway-Lafayette St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
A bit of British colonialism on the Bowery, Madam Geneva feels like a backroom bar for nineteenth-century governors in Singapore. The dark, sultry lounge, with lace-paneled walls, hanging lanterns, and a corner gramophone, all set off by urban concessions—not just exposed brick, but exposed steel, rivets and all. Gin was once known as “Madam Geneva” in the liquor-soaked squalor of preindustrial London, and the eponymous lounge features (its bartenders claim) the widest array of that spirit in town. A long bar morphs into a high communal table, while partially set-off nooks hide dark-blue leather couches and flickering candlelight—the better to enjoy small plates of tuna and scallop tartare or roasted bone marrow that appear from the adjoining Saxon and Parole kitchen. Meanwhile, signature cocktails fuel the Noho crowd that packs the lounge full on weekends. The drinks blend lemon and gin over a bed of just-crushed ice, with a dollop of house-made preserves that quickly dissolve.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.