- Russian Vodka Room
265 West 52nd Street, 212-307-5835
More accessible than Brighton Beach and more genuinely foreign than that tonier vodka den downtown, this dark warren of rooms with their discreet portraits of Lenin could be mistaken for a plush hotel lounge on the Volga. Especially when the Russian businessmen sidle up to the bar and the piano player starts in on some dusty pop numbers. But the RVR welcomes anyone who, as its Website says, is “devoted to the noble cause of drinking excellent vodka”—50 some varieties of which it serves, along with palate-shocking house infusions like horseradish and bitter citrus. Don’t overlook the surprisingly good food, either, which skews toward the salted, smoked, and pickled. How heartening that years after the hammer and sickle were relegated to the dustbin of history, it’s still possible to get hammered Soviet-style.
Best Russian Drinking
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).