6 at Astor Pl.; F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.; N, R, W at 8th St.-NYU
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Philip Ward and Ravi DeRossi, the mixology masters behind Death & Company, set their sights south of the border with Mayahuel, their East Village homage to mescal and tequila. The dimly lit cocktail den more closely resembles a Mexican monastery than a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, with dark wooden nooks and a row of bar stools cozied up to backlit shelves encouraging quiet conversation. While the upstairs space gets a bit rowdier, with leather booths and red stained-glass lighting lending a rosy glow to the low-ceilinged room, the downstairs area highlights Mayahuel’s main focus: the drinks. For $13 a pop, this is agave like you’ve never seen it before, with apple cider, cinnamon bark, lemon, and peychaud bitters; mixed with pomegranate molasses and lime; and stirred up with strawberry and elderflower in a single serving of sangria. The bar also offers Oaxacan-fusion fare, cooked up by Vongerichten protégé Luis Gonzales, including “sharable bites” like seared shrimp and chorizo with roasted red pepper, and braised pork belly with papaya-mango mustard.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.