Two new lounges promise seduction, but where is the love—Kama or Sutra?
380 Columbus Ave., at 78th St.; 212-724-2363 Sutra
16 First Ave., at First St.; 212-677-9477
Setting the Mood Sheer sari drapes, low beds, private tents, and a rose-petal-filled wading pool. Two floors swathed in red velvet and candlelight, plus pomegranate-colored walls.
At the Orgy Mostly young professionals and their adoring bridge-and-tunnel fans. Downtown scenesters and celebs (Rosario Dawson, Drea de Matteo).
Aphrodisiacs Have an “Orgy” with three carafes of any specialty cocktail ($69), including the Lotus Flower and Secret Garden. Candles line the walls and fill the fireplace; you’ll either dig the mood lighting or question the possible fire-code violation.
The Turn Off It’s a trek getting here if you’re not from the UWS. Loud and crowded, you’ll barely hear what your date is saying.
Final Position Romantic and intimate, it’s the perfect place to take someone you love. Perfect, if it’s the scene you love the most.
—E. J. Samson
Mochatini with Candy Cane Foam
Lush chocolate and espresso fasten Stefan Trummer’s new holiday cocktail at RM. At first sip, it’s deceptively simple, but the subsequent surge of zingy mint and smooth vodka is anything but. For a spicy twist at home, ditch the espresso for orange-flavored vodka, and the foam for cracked black pepper and white chocolate shavings. —Erin Monju Mochatini:
2 tbs. Valrhona Chocolate Sauce
1 shot Espresso
2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Grand Marnier
4 oz. Belvedere Vodka
2-4 Candy Canes
1 cup Lychee Juice
1 Gelatin Sheet
Crushed Candy Cane
• Measure ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice, and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass, and top with foam. Garnish with crushed candy cane and mint.
• To make the foam, crush candy canes and mix with lychee juice. Stir over low heat until just melted. Add moistened gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add schnapps to taste. Cool, whip, and scoop into pastry bag.
Saturday-Night Kosher Party at Talia’s Steakhouse
For years, kosher-keeping Jews have been biblically prohibited from soaking up the booze with all that enticing pub grub wrapped in bacon. But all that has changed since the debut last month of a Saturday-night “Kosher Party” at Talia’s Steakhouse. After the Jewish Sabbath concludes each week, Talia’s—a glatt kosher restaurant catering mostly to the twentysomething UWS Orthodox crowd—is transformed into an upscale bar with a full menu of kosher nibbles, and so far it’s been packed with women in ankle-skimming skirts and men in yarmulkes elegantly wolfing down chicken satay skewers ($8) and fried veggies with marinara sauce ($13). A DJ spins a weird mix of elevator, dance, and trance music, perhaps to enforce the Footloose-like no-dancing policy (in accordance with Jewish laws prohibiting men and women from dancing together). Sometimes the place seems a little bit like an absurdly posh yeshiva high-school cafeteria with boys and girls desperately plotting ways to mingle, but with all the alcohol that’s served, it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to push the tables aside and start an illicit hora.—Leah Hochbaum
Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., 668 Amsterdam Ave., between 92 and 93 Sts.; 212-580-3770; taliassteakhouse.com
Much has been made of Lure Fishbar’s seaworthy menu of raw delicacies, but a recent visit to the bar proves that sauce keeps this boat afloat, too. Seasonal cocktails are strong, icy, and celebratory: Our favorite, That Bourbon Drink ($12), mixes Knob Creek, apple puree, cinnamon, and lemon juice to fair form. Freckled and golden-hued, it’s deliciously aromatic and complex. An off-the-menu Cran-Apple Martini ($12) made with fresh fruit is free of the usual noxious green color and taste. Of course, at this price level, a properly made cocktail should be a given, but then there’s that decadent décor: The bar on this yacht has cushy white-leather stools, a spacious deck with navy banquettes, and, as if you needed any proof, photos documenting the swell rituals (champagne christenings, helicopter landings) that go with the good life.—Carla Spartos
142 Mercer St., at Prince St.; 212-431-7676; lurefishbar.com
What could the owners of trendy new Aer Lounge possibly do to set itself apart from its meatpacking district competition? Cater to its patrons’ vices, of course. Just in time before the bitter cold hits—and the nabe’s chain-smoking Euros risk getting snow on their Chanel parkas for a breath of fresh Gauloises—Aer is debuting what it claims is the city’s first-ever smoking section since the 2001 ban (but haven’t you been unremorsefully puffing away at Luke and Leroy, anyway?). The 10,000-square-foot venue promises an outdoor smoking veranda separated by a glass wall and outfitted with heaters, plush couches, table service, and music (although at a November Maxim party, it resembled nothing more than a glorified alley). In addition to the veranda, Aer comes complete with all the elitist trappings you’d expect from a meatpacking district club, like a lower-level VIP area and a wine cellar with more than 1000 labels. You may not get into the VIP room, but rest assured that in the smoking section, lung cancer won’t discriminate.—E. J. Samson
409 W. 13th St., near Ninth Ave.; 646-638-1300; Thu-Sat, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.; $25 cover charge.
Judging by the guy who doggedly attempted to get into Glo on opening night (his failed ploys included loudly proclaiming he was a lawyer, sneaking through a side door, loudly proclaiming his father was a cop, and, finally, loudly calling the club employees “f#@kwads” as he screeched away in a taxi), you can expect plenty of door drama at this new meatpacking district club. Was it worth all his trouble? Reminiscent of a posh Long Island beach house—white, modern, and serene—Glo is divided into three levels, each with its own bar and social strata. Table-service patrons can enjoy raised platform seating that wraps around the sizeable dance floor, while upstairs, the untouchables get little more than a bird’s eye view of the action and each other’s fabulous company. But plebes take heart: The main area offers the best bar—made from white pebbles and lit by neon tubing—plus plenty of space to dance to frivolous Franz Ferdinand and Prince remixes, which blare from giant white speakers that hover like space stations above the dance floor.—Carla Spartos
431 W. 16th St., between Ninth and Tenth Aves.; 212-229-9119; Fri-Sat, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.; $20 cover charge.
Asian-themed Orchid Lounge is an oasis of chic relaxation that attracts a down-to-earth crowd. It’s the ideal place to unwind, with carefully chosen décor—red satin pillows, Japanese lanterns, vases of cherry blossoms—and friendly bartenders who sample the cocktails they mix to ensure perfection. The bar is lined with glass jars of vodka infusions in flavors like pumpkin, vanilla, and ginger. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness the striking of the gong—signifying free shots. If not, the drinks are worth the money, anyway. Try China White ($8), a sweet mix of cinnamon-infused vodka, Baileys, and coconut rum. The Sajito ($8), a sake mojito, is refreshingly minty, while the Lychee Martini ($8) has a subtle, sweet flavor. There is also an assortment of sake ($7-$9), red and white wine ($6-$8), and bottled Asian beer ($5). As for entertainment, the bar’s lone TV recently aired Kill Bill and Wednesdays through Saturdays, a DJ, sequestered inconspicuously in a corner, spins low-key songs by artists like Stevie Wonder and Jimmy Hendrix.—Leah Black
500 E. 11th St., between Aves. A and B; 212-254-4090; Sun-Wed, 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Thu-Sat, 5:30 p.m.-4 a.m.