November Bar Buzz

The scoop on the city's clubs and pubs—from an A-list appertif and a dismissive door girl (aw snap!) to a boozy Alphabet City boutique and a haven for Hollywood on the Bowery (calling Nick Nolte!).

 
 
recipe
Falling Leaves
Limply infused vodkas fall flat next to the thirty pounds of distilled fruit found in each bottle of eau de vie, a brandy that forms the basis of Falling Leaves, Audrey Saunders' new seasonal cocktail at Bemelmans Bar. Pungent pear eau de vie from upstate New York lends the drink suppleness, while the high acidity of Riesling provides backbone. The result? Autumn's multihued spectrum in a glass.—Erin Monju

Falling Leaves
1 oz. Clear Creek Pear Eau De Vie
2 oz. Trimbach Reisling
1/4 oz. Honey Syrup (equal parts of honey and water)
1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Orange Curacao
1 dash Peychauds Bitters
Garnish: Star Anise
Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice, and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the star anise. Serve cold, or allow to warm slightly for fuller flavor.
 
the industry
The Right Girl
To generate that much needed opening-night buzz, last month the owners of Green Room (286 Spring St.; 212-929-8560) staged a citywide search for their door girl. 200 women responded to the casting call, and after a grueling interview process, the judges narrowed the field down to five girls, revealing the winner just hours before doors opened (and you thought America's Next Top Model was intense!). We caught up with the winner, Ashley Harder, moments before the red carpet was rolled out.—E. J. Samson

What were you doing before landing this gig? I've been modeling for the last five years, but I want to break into acting. I'm gonna be on the Guiding Light! I'm just in the background, but everybody has to start somewhere.
How's living in New York?
It's amazing. I feel like I've been here forever, but it's only been two months. I'm fresh meat!
So how was the competition?
The girls were very trendy, very cute, great bodies—the whole package deal. I think it came down to my personality. I'm not really afraid or intimidated by anyone.
When did you find out you won?
I found out today. Six hours ago. I literally sat on my couch and was like "oh my god." I didn't know what to do.
Congratulations! But doesn't it suck that you have to go into work now? It's cool, because I do have to say the pay is incredible. I get to help my parents out with the rent, so I'm very happy with that.
What kind of person will get into the Green Room, anyway?
Somebody very trendy with high class and a great sense of style, who's gonna be able to spend the money and throw a couple of bottles back.
And what kind of person won't get in?
I'll know it when I see it.
 
market research
B-to-the-E
Everyone's heard of energy drinks like Red Bull and Jolt Cola, but energy alcohol? This month, Anheuser-Busch rolls out B-to-the-E, beer made from barley, malt, hops, and enough caffeine to keep you partying till the break of dawn.—Leah Hochbaum
 
Sold since...
November 2004
1997
1985
       
Cost
Slightly higher than Bud, which costs $9.99 a 12-pack at newyorkbeverage.com
$21.99 for a 12-pack at beveragesdirect.com
$13.50 for a 12-pack at beveragesdirect.com
       
Results
Equivalent of 1 1/4 cans of Mountain Dew
Equivalent of 3-4 cans of Mountain Dew (yowzer!)
Equivalent of 1 1/2 cans of Mountain Dew
       
Gives you...
A hangover.
Sweeter vodka.
Um, a jolt.
       
Slogan
Beer with Something Extra
Red Bull Gives You Wings
Positive Reinforcement
       
Selling point
"Packaged in a sleek, slim-line 10-ounce can with stylish graphics."
"With taurine"—ooh, it has taurine.
Mentioned in most mags that "utter the word 'computer.'"
       
Drinkers
No one yet. But it's being targeted at "highly social" adults.
Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, and Ashton Kutcher.
Apparently, a lot of computer programmers.
 

archive
Jack Rose
"It's funny what a wonderful gentility you get in the bar of a big hotel," Jake Barnes tells Lady Brett Ashley in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. While the View's institutional furniture, garish carpeting, and queasy orange glow certainly wouldn't inspire Jake, it might not stop him from tossing back a Jack Rose with the bar's drunk tourists, either. This Lost Generation favorite was lost to most Manhattan bars—until it popped up on the View's new Dale DeGroff–designed cocktail list. The drink—named for its rose color and applejack base spirit, but possibly after a New York gangster, too—is so hard to find because there's only one American company that still manufactures apple brandy. Most recipes call for Laird's applejack, fresh lime (or lemon) juice, and grenadine, but DeGroff also throws in simple syrup, resulting in a slightly flat aftertaste. Still, a good dose of lemon juice provides a nice tart balance to the View's punchy version ($10.75). The Hotel de Crillon this is not. But what the hell.—Carla Spartos

 

ask the expert
Inexpensive Wine Picks
Our holiday social calendars are filling faster than our bank accounts, but we're not sweating it thanks to Allen B. Sack of Warehouse Wine and Spirits (735 Broadway, at Astor Place; 212-982-7770), the downtown emporium renowned for cheap cheer.—Corinne Iozzio

Brrrrrr?I need a winter warmer.
1995 Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Porto, $25.99
20% alcohol gets you flushed fast; try with cheese or dark chocolate.
Turkey schmurkey. I wanna wow.

2000 Blockheadia Ringnossii Napa Valley Zinfandel, $19.99
Zin grapes are quintessentially American; this one's rich in black cherry.
I'm desperate to impress my father-in-law. Did I mention his affinity for silk smoking jackets?

Hine Cigar Reserve French Cognac, $34.99
Well-priced, woody, with hints of licorice.
I need a regal red that won't bow down to my host's crown roast.

2000 Behrens & Hitchcock California Merlot, $29.99
A stand-up red with supple blackberry notes and high alcohol content.
I'm a hostess who doesn't want the mostest. What's an after-dinner alternative to calorie-crammed cakes?

1998 Pierre Sparr Grand Cru, $17.99
This dessert wine goes from sweet to spicy, with a crisp, dry finish.
Aaargh! Tonight, it's chick flicks, Chinese takeout, and ______.

Junmai Ginjo Tamanohikari Yamahai Sake, $22.99
Full-bodied sake as smooth as bourbon whiskey.
It's New Year's and I'm broke. Am I stuck swigging Asti Spumante?

2002 Vranken Champagne, $17.99
Bonafide French bubbly with hints of dry citrus.

 
preview
Dream Lounge
It seems that midtown's tourist-class hotels are no longer content with brass lamps and floral bedspreads. A Shrager-like lounge is now also de rigeur. First came Trousdale, the ultramodern lounge in the Theater District's budget-friendly Amsterdam Court Hotel. Now the Majestic Hotel has been renovated into the Dream Hotel, and its snug lobby bar is a hallucination made vivid by mod stripes and mirror. Custom-made carpeting runs the length of the room, with the striped motif repeated in tile behind the bar. All of which would be disconcerting if it weren't for comfortable settees in coordinating solids and waitresses in swishy black cocktail dresses fetching drinks. The Fellini feel stretches into the lobby, with its funhouse furniture, curio cabinets, and glass elevator leading down to the Subconscious lounge, which is slated to open next year. A little overreaching, maybe, but sure to impress the out-of-towners, too.—Carla Spartos
Dream Hotel, 210 W. 55th St., at Broadway; 212-246-2211; dreamny.com; Sun-Thu, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri-Sat, 6 p.m.-4 a.m.
 
recently reviewed
The Hanger
Maybe you're in the mood for shopping, but a cash-strapped friend would rather sit down to an inexpensive drink. The creators of the Hanger want people to do both in one place. At this cozy East Village spot (formerly Plant Bar), a handful of reasonably priced vintage dresses hang in the front window (and out of spills way), while a selection of hats—including some for men—sit atop an antique cabinet in back. Yet the local hipsters seem more interested in the drink specials written with marker and taped behind the bar—and with good reason. A mere $12 will get you a pitcher of the cocktail of your choice, while three bucks will buy you a Staten Island Iced Tea made from vodka and sickly sweet iced-tea mix. And where else can you get a sampler of three whiskies or three scotches for just $12 and $15? The decor—flowered wallpaper, flickering candlelight, and wooden tables and chairs arranged in intimate corners—makes this the perfect place for a low-key date or a quiet start to a more raucous evening on the town.—Leah Black
217 E. 3rd St., between Aves. B and C; 212-228-1030; Mon, 5 p.m.-4 a.m.; Tue-Fri, 1 p.m.-4 a.m.; Sat-Sun, noon-4 a.m.
 

Kos
Face it. If Page Six isn't the least bit interested in your life, you're not getting into Kos. A small, exclusive lounge on the Bowery, Kos's appeal lies in that you can't get in to see what you're missing (which, to tell the truth, isn't much?). On our way inside, we witnessed a group of three attractive girls get turned away at the door. "Three attractive girls!" we thought. "The place must be packed." But the club was so empty you could hear an echo. The front room is lined with couches and tables, with a DJ booth in one corner and a bar area further back. There's also a plush room dubbed the "Kitty Box," where the mega VIPs (Bruce Willis, P. Diddy, Steven Tyler, Mary Kate Olsen, et al.) mingle. As expected, the wait staff is drop-dead, and if you make the cut, there's a certain thrill about hanging out in a place your friends can't get into. Co-owners Lenny Kravitz and Denzel Washington lend the club its air of celebrity, and it's strictly their set Kos is looking to attract. Bungalow 8 did it, but whether Kos can succeed while catering to such a small (though good-looking) gene pool remains to be seen.—Emma Rosenblum
264 Bowery, near Houston St.; 212-343-9722; Daily, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.

 

Snitch
A rock bar with attitude, Snitch caters to adventurers seeking an alternative to the generic club scene—not to pretty young things like trendy next-door neighbor Vela. Any celeb you see here is liable to be of the VH-1 variety, like at a recent Camp Freddy concert featuring members of Jane's Addiction and Guns 'N Roses. As you might expect, the music is '80s rock staples—think "Love in an Elevator"—and though space is limited, people are definitely dancing to Aerosmith. Yes, the club is dark. And yes, there are tough guys in chains. And if you stay really, really late, Snitch serves breakfast starting at 4 a.m., although the menu doesn't quite mesh with the scene—cre brulee french foast or Kobe steak and eggs, anyone? Co-owned by Scott Weiland and Duff McKagan of Velvet Revolver and Brett Scallions of Fuel, Snitch gets its fair share of indie and A-list bands—Marilyn Manson and Metallica are booked to play upcoming shows on the club's circular stage. Most nights, though, you can count on a more low-key crowd, when televised sports games are liable to be the featured entertainment.—Emma Rosenblum
259 W. 21st St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.; 212-727-7775; Mon-Thu, 5 p.m.-4 a.m.; Fri-Sun, 24 hours.

 

Supreme Trading
Where can hipsters combine art and boozing now that P.S.1's summer season is over? They need look no further than their own backyard thanks to Supreme Trading, a 7500 square-foot salon/bar with multiple rooms for live bands, DJs, even an art gallery. Exposed brick walls frame the main bar area, and suspended light fixtures serve as artful accents to the hangar-like open space. The crowd, which sports the latest in so-not-trendy-it's-trendy attire (goodbye ironic trucker hats, hello skinny ties!), guzzle down Stella and dance to the latest in indie, nu wave, and post punk rock (just ask yourself: could it appear on the Garden State soundtrack?). Several banquettes are off to the side, and for a little more privacy, a second level offers an intimate lounge complete with a pool table and leather benches overlooking the dance floor. But if it's a breath of fresh smoke you crave, head to the ceiling-less smoker's lounge with Little League–style bleachers. If you're into indie rock but not the scene's in-your-face attitude, this party is definitely worth the trip on the L train.—E. J. Samson
213 N. 8th St., near Driggs Ave., Williamsburg; 718-599-4224; supremetradingny.com; Mon-Thu, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri-Sat, 5 p.m.-4 a.m.

 
 
Published on November 1, 2004