The Double Seven
The new club from the owners of Lotus has opened quite quietly. Right now it’s a speakeasy of sorts, a door located across from Lotus and a little to the west, guarded by a velvet rope. Double Seven inhabits the intimate space that was formerly Baktun and features a DJ every night, but you won’t see anyone dancing on the luxurious leather couches. There are swank touches like a leather bar and an illuminated blown-glass wall installation, but the focus is on the fresh-pressed and expertly mulled drinks, designed by none other than the ubiquitous Sasha Petraske of Milk and Honey and paired (before midnight) with chocolates from Debauve and Gallais. Late night, you can even order in from Pop Burger.
Milk and Honey, the once-secret Chinatown speakeasy where the drinks are fresher than a baby’s butt, is now the stuff of legend, so think of Sasha Petraske’s two new ventures as something akin to The Godfather II and III. Little Branch, strategically positioned in the bowels of a former transvestite bar in Sasha’s own rapidly evolving neighborhood, is the worthy sequel: a more spacious and slightly less precious lair that serves up all the same fresh-squeezed, expertly prepared drinks. A stand-up piano (soon to be used for jazz trios) and an oyster bar are thrown in for good measure.
The East Side Company Bar
This bar borrows its predecessor Milk and Honey’s narrow, candles-against-pressed-tin interior, but like Coppola fans were with Godfather III, Petraske zealots may be slightly disappointed: where are the eggs and the fresh fruit? Why isn’t the bartender wearing suspenders? Is that a beer tap behind the bar? Matty the head barkeep may not always have fresh ginger to work with but all is forgiven with a sip of the heavenly Presbetyrian (ginger beer and bourbon). And the drinks aren’t the only thing shaking here: on the weekends DJs from Sapphire Lounge spin house in the small back room.
Johnny T co-owns the no-frills East Village bars Niagara and Black & White, but habitués of his M*therfucker parties know he’s also down with pomp and circumstance. Tri-level Movida inhabits what was formerly a dodgy high-end Russian restaurant, and it still feels like it— the club’s designer, fashion photographer Dah Len, has opted for the mirror and black marble look, and the DJ spins thumping dance-rock from behind a giant faux bullet hole. Yes, there’s a blacklit stripper pole in the corner, but the crystal chandelier, the balcony lounge’s twinkling ceiling, and the $425 bottles of Dom keep things classy enough for celeb drop-ins like the Foo Fighters, Michael Stipe, and Drew Barrymore. There’s a velvet rope outside but in this case dress-to-impress means wear your coolest Joy Division tee.
Brooke Webster served Meow Mix to young and sex-starved lesbians for a decade until it closed its cramped and dingy doors in July 2004. Webster’s new sprawling, two-story Park Slope club finally gives dykes a place to stretch their legs. The first-class upgrade boasts two bars, two dance floors, a roof deck, a purple pool table and two jukeboxes complete with Le Tigre, The Butchies and (for the gay boys) Dolly. For those who still miss the old haunt, not to worry: Much of the new staff are holdovers.
Alt.coffee, the coffee shop co-owned by Andy and Nick Bodor, is such a dive that it’s hard to sip a Red Eye without imagining a shot of brown in it. Until now, you’d have to stroll down Avenue A to their bar Library to take care of that, but at their new switch-hitter Cake Shop, they put the hangover’s cause and cure in the same space. The café upstairs sells both a banana pie named after the Velvet Underground and a few of the band’s CDs in the adjacent record shop. The subterranean drinking lair boasts a jukebox every bit as punk-eccentric as Library’s. It’s only turned down when live bands rock the stage.