Category Archives: Bar/Tavern/Lounge

Vino Volo owners expanding airport bars

Q: Who is happy with flight delays?

A: Airport bar and restaurant owners.

NEW YORK — Mistral Equity Partners of New York is investing more than $10 million in Taste Inc., a chain of airport wine bars which operates at Vino Volo, according to the Dow Jones news service. The company runs 18 locations in airports nationally, and plans to open an additional several more, outside of airport security which means a broader potential clientele.

The chain now specializes in wine flights. It also plans to expand beyond airport dining and venture into the cities, to see if its wine sampling model works beyond airport terminals.

The company’s current locations include John F. Kennedy International in New York and Newark International in New Jersey.

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge


New Saratoga brew pub to open Wednesday

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In a neck-and-neck race with the schedule of Saratoga Race Course, the city’s new brew pub will be able to catch most of the meet.

Next Wednesday, August 1, is the officially announced opening day for Druthers Brewing Co., a $2.5 million downtown project that should benefit from the thoroughbred meet that runs through September 3.

Druthers is owned by a partnership that includes Albany attorney Chris Martell and Albany Pump Station brewmaster George de Piro, among others.

The brew pub, located at 381 Broadway, is accessed via an entranceway that opens to a courtyard and the building itself. Below is a sketch of that from the company’s infant website.

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Brew pub, Capital Region, Upstate


A cocktail especially for Tebow

NEW YORK — Tebowmania already has struck many parts of the city, now that Tim Tebow is a member of the NFL’s New York Jets.

Doubtless there are hundreds of businesses that would be happy to have the ultra-clean-cut athlete pay a visit. Brother Jimmy’s, a sports bar in the Murray Hill neighborhood, has come up with a particularly interesting enticement.

It is offering a cocktail called “No Sex On the Beach,” a non-alcoholic version of the popular drink “Sex On the Beach.”

Here’s a recipe for the original cocktail. A non-alcoholic version can be made by skipping the schnapps and vodka and substituting peach puree.


⅔ ounce peach schnapps
1⅓ ounces vodka
1⅓ ounces cranberry juice
1⅓ ounces orange juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice.

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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge, Cocktails


2 NYS venues on magazine’s top wine bar list

A pair of New York venues have made the list of America’s top wine bars as determined by Travel + Leisure magazine.

422 Hudson Street at Leroy
(212) 206-0594

An oval wraparound bar dominates the candlelit interior of this tin-ceilinged wine bar, encouraging casual conversation among West Village locals and others lured here. The wine list features about 150 carefully curated bottles, and the small plates can hold their own (you might catch an intoxicating whiff of white truffle oil). Consider, for starters, the Cheese Trio Panini, a deadly combination of Manchego, Muenster, and fontina, sourced from New York City’s iconic Murray’s Cheese Shop, or goose liver pâté, spread generously on slabs of hot toast.

Flight Wine Bar
262 Exchange Boulevard
(585) 360-4180

Trios of hand-selected pours are the highlight at this appropriately named spot overlooking the Genesee River. Ice wines and Rieslings from New York’s Finger Lakes region make regular appearances in the bar’s extensive flights, which aren’t just limited to wines—there’s also a chocolate tasting, comprising dipped orange peels, sesame leaves, and dark chocolate truffles, perfect for sharing. If you’re in more of a savory mood, go for the cheese and charcuterie plates and tuck into succulent slices of salami and beechwood-smoked Bruder Basil. Low lighting and warm, earth-toned furniture complete the elegant atmosphere.


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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Wine Bars


Southern Tier speakeasy revives the 1930s

From YNN

ENDICOTT — An historic piece of property in [this Binghamton-area town] has been transformed into a business that owners hope will take you back in time. During Prohibition, there was a speakeasy on the second floor of 57 Washington Street. Years later, that business is reopening, this time legally, on the first floor.

Owners of the Wise Ash Speakeasy want customers to feel as though they are being transported back to the 1930s. Vinny Coiro says it was research for a movie he worked on that it inspired him to bring the prohibition mystique back to the Southern Tier.

“It was talking about the rise and fall of a couple of criminals, one of them being called Al Capone and the other little Richie, and what they did was start the bootlegging process and literally were bringing booze back to this same street back in the era. Once I did that I was so enthralled with the history that’s involved in the Southern Tier that I decided to do it here and stay here,” said Vinny Coiro, Wise Ash Speakeasy owner.

Patrons beware: If you go to the Wise Ash Speakeasy, you may treated to faux keystone cop raids and even visits from the mob. Bottom line: Expect the unexpected.

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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge


SLA turns LAMP spotlight on licensees

If you’ve ever wondered about the disciplinary record of a particular drinking establishment, or whether a tavern owner has applied for a license, or the proximity of a drinking establishment to churches, schools and the like, the State Liquor Authority has just unveiled something for you.

The SLA has launched a new website providing just such information, plotting every licensed wine, beer and spirits purveyor in New York — from convenience stores to chain restaurants, country clubs, fraternal organizations and neighborhood bars.

It is called by the acronym LAMP — Liquor Authority Mapping Project, and includes locations of schools, churches, police stations and community boards.

It takes a little time to learn to navigate the interactive map, especially in more populous areas where colored indicators overlap each other; as just one example, the screenshot above shows the density of the heart of the state’s Albany Capital Region. But, once you spend a little time on it, you can call up layers that include or exclude any sorts of places you want.

For example, you can see vendors with on-premises licenses or off-premises licenses or both. You also can see various categories layered with churches and/or schools, thereby getting a statistical view of the ratio. There is a zoom factor as well, and the base map is very detailed.

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SLA snips strings of Schenectady pub

SCHENECTADY — When more than two-thirds of your drinking patrons are underage, it’s a sure bet the State Liquor Authority is going to take a dim view of the situation.

That’s what happened when the SLA, accompanied by city police and personnel from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, last week raided Geppetto’s restaurant and bar, located at 547 Nott Street, opposite the Union College campus.

The SLA today announced the suspension of the bar’s license, held by D&D Strombolli Shop Inc.

In the raid, Geppetto’s was charged with 36 violations covering such items as sales to underage patrons, unlicensed bouncers, paying employees off the books, and failure to supervise the premises. Four DMV minors were ticketed by the DMV for having a fake ID. The SLA said its agents documented 16 direct sales to minors and obtained 16 additional admissions of minors purchasing alcohol. In addition, three bartenders were charged with 15 counts of unlawfully dealing with a minor for making the sales.

“Cracking down on underage sales is a priority and the SLA will not hesitate in taking emergency action against bars that cater to minors,” SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen said in a statement. “We will continue working with the Schenectady police and our partners in law enforcement across the state to hold licensees accountable.”

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge


NY Beer Co. puts craft breweries on the map

NEW YORK — The New York Beer Company is nothing if not an equal-opportunity beer plugger.

People who drop in for a mug at the craft beer emporium should feel welcome no matter what part of New York they call home. That’s because of a wall-size map of New York, showing the location of every craft brewery in the state.

The huge beer hall, created by the craft brewmasters from the House of Brews in Hell’s Kitchen, also boasts a running stock market-style ticker displaying all sorts of information, from sports scores to current beer prices. Some of the communal tables have their own beer taps.

The beer list includes 40 taps and 50 bottles and focuses largely on a lot of lesser-known brews.

The New York Beer Company is located at 321 West 44th Street. Phone: (631) 475-6944.

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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Beer, Brew pub


Shochu tasting contest will warm up the city in February

NEW YORK — Aficionados of the Japanese vodka called shochu or the rice-based awamori will be in heaven February 6-11 when 16 different bars and restaurants in the city participate in a tasting contest billed as the “1st NYC Shochu & Awamori Tasting Contest.”

Here’s how the organizers explain the competition:

“You will taste and learn five different kinds of shochu/awamori and memorize their flavors. Then you will be asked to match 3 brands from memory and accumulate points. The three contestants with the highest points from each restaurant/bar will receive gift certificates of $200, $100 or $50 and be invited to compete in the final event at the Kitano Hotel on Park Avenue on February 15.”

Contest participation fee is $30 per person. That covers two free drinks (including a shochu/awamori cocktail) and edamame. Full participation details are available here.

The venues involved:

174 Grand Street

Kibo Japanese Grill
111 East 18th Street at Park Ave South

86 East 3rd Street

232 East 9th Street

432 6th Avenue

Bao Noodle
391 2nd Avenue

516 3rd Avenue

Kitano Hotel
66 Park Avenue

226 West 50th Street

Shimizu Sushi
West 318 West 51st Street @ WJ Hotel

Shochu Bar Hatchan
210 East 44th Street

Yakitori East
210 East 44th Street

Samurai Mama
205 Grand Street, Wiiliamsburg

One or Eight
66 South 2nd Street, Williamsburg

Various locations

296 Grand Street, Williamsburg

The shochu and awamori brands:

  • Zuisen (awamori)
  • Gokuu (barley)
  • Satsuma shiranami (potato)
  • Shiro (rice)
  • Beniotome (sesame)
  • Kappa no sasoimizu (potato)
  • Ginza no suzume (barley)
  • Ginza no suzume kohaku (barley)
  • Kaikouzu (potato)
  • Ryukyu oukoku (awamori)
  • Kannoko (barley)
  • Kumesen (awamori)
  • Tombo (barley)

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge, Vodka


Ice bar cometh to Watkins Glen

W ATKINS GLEN — Here’s a way to be sure your drink is on ice. Literally.

On Friday, February 17, the public will be admitted to the Harbor Hotel beginning a 5 p.m. to belly up to a 7,000-pound hunk of ice that will by that time have been meticulously carved into a working bar. Plans are to operate that unique venue through Sunday of that Weekend.

Specialty martinis, wines and local beers will be available, along with light hors d’oeuvres and live music.

Advance ticket sales are $15 each, available online. A portion of the event revenue will be donated to the American Red Cross.

The Harbor Hotel, an AAA Four-Diamond Award hotel,  is located at 16 North Franklin Street in this Finger Lakes city. Phone: (607) 535-6116.

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge


Bartenders’ Ball set for Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Since its inception, the Bartenders’ Ball has raised more than $350,000 for local charities. The 15th such affair is scheduled for Saturday, February 11, at the Saratoga City Center.

Last year’s recipient of the fundraiser was the Domestic Violence Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County. Funds are to be invested in “bricks and mortar” projects, and this year’s fundraiser will help make the shelter more energy efficient.

This semi-formal event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to midnight, will include food, casino gaming and dancing to live music by the Audiostars. Tickets are $50 per person. Dance-side tables are available at $550. For further details and reservations, call Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services at (518) 583-0280.

The City Center is located at 522 Broadway, downtown.

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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Bartenders, Fundraiser


Wine series in the North Country

NORTH CREEK — Looking to escape the usual  crowded downtowns for a wine tasting event? barVino is about to kick off its winter wine tasting series in the North Country.

The first event, a sparkling wines tasting, is set for noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday, December 30, when attendees will learn flavor profiles of specific grapes, how to taste wine, what to look for (and why), how wine is produced and how to match wine with food.

Each class includes four 3-ounce pours and a selection of light hors d’oeuvres from chef Megan Diehl, designed to complement the wine selection. The four to be tried are Lamberti Rose Spumante, Tiamo Prosecco, Vilarnau Cava and J.J. Vincent Cremant.

Tickets are $55 each. Reservations may be made online or by calling (518) 251-0199.

barVino is located at 272 Main Street.

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Adirondacks, Tasting Event, Wine Bars


New Albany bar will be smokin’

ALBANY — The Smokin’ Bull Bar will open next month at 53 North Lake Avenue at Washington. That’s the location that once housed the notorious Long Branch, which closed after charges of underage drinking on the premises.

The owners, identified in their application for a state liquor license as Pulver’s Pub LLC, got a written recommendation from Anton Konev, who represents the neighborhood on the Common Council. The wording of his letter makes it rather obvious what the problems were during the Long Branch’s run.

Here’s a sample:

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge


• Saratoga brew pub project gathers steam

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city Planning Board has unanimously approved the site plan for a proposed brew pub to be located off Broadway.

The next step is to obtain Design Review Committee next Wednesday.

“That would enable us to perhaps get shovels in the ground before Christmas,” George de Piro, one of the partners in the project, wrote on his Times Union blog. “Then all we need to do is build the place, install the brewery, get all of our licenses, hire a staff … Oh, the fun in front of us!”

Despite the lengthy to-do list, the partners are targeting a May 2012 opening.

The proposal is for a 60-by-48-foot structure 100 feet off Broadway in a niche between the Saratoga Shoe Depot and a mixed-use building that has the new Swedish Hill Winery tasting room on the ground floor. Beer will be made on-site weekly and sold in the brew pub.

Here’s an architect’s drawing of what the exterior of the brew pub would look like, designed to emulate a 19th Century carriage house:

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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Brew pub, Capital Region


• Cap Region awash in beer

Graphic by William M. Dowd

ALBANY -– There are, to be sure, some fine wine collections at restaurants in the city — Yono’s/dp, The Ginger Man and 677 Prime, for example. But make no mistake, this is a beer-centric city and getting more-so all the time.

The latest beer joint announcement concerns The Merry Monk, a bar/restaurant featuring Belgian beer. It is projected to open within the next few weeks at North Pearl and Sheridan downtown. It will offer 16 drafts and a lineup of bottled brews. It succeeds the very short-lived Corner Bar.

This no doubt will lead to even more beer-pairing dinners on the schedule, already in a dizzying number of establishments from watering holes to lah-di-dah establishments.

True, beer has always been popular in Albany — not unusual for a college town — but the establishment of such grownup watering holes as Wolff’s Biergarten certainly helped create the current frenzied level of activity. Wolff’s success with consumers undoubtedly helped sparked the creation of such other spots as Stout at 904 Broadway, The Barrel Saloon at 942 Broadway, The Olde English Pub & Pantry in the Quackenbush House at Clinton and Broadway, and the City Beer Hall in the former Lodge’s (and, later, Ballinger’s) restaurant at Howard and Lodge streets.

Also this year, there was a brief panic among drinkers when Mahar’s, the local beer mecca, closed briefly after a missed deadline cost it a delay in its license renewal. Many toasts when it re-opened got everyone calmed down.

Beer has gotten so popular that DeCrescente Distributing, the Mechanicville firm that is the leading Upstate beer supplier, has turned one of its websites into what the company says is “the ultimate mobile phone and internet search engine, designed to meet the newest needs of today’s beer consumer.”

A few other developments in the city this year:

• While it pursues a full liquor license, the new Capital City Gastropub at 261 New Scotland Avenue is relying on its beer list to make its mark. It has added a formal bar since its September opening, offering 12 draft brews and 20 bottled beers.

• The recent Albany Craft Beer Festival at The Armory sold out for the second straight year.

This news roundup doesn’t even count such new beer-centric establishments or programs in nearby parts of the Capital Region. Some examples:

• In Schenectady, the Van Dyke Restaurant & Lounge returned to brewing under new ownership that apparently has stabilized the establishment after years of being on a financial roller-coaster. The beer brand name: Mad Jack.

• The annual Conkling Hall fundraiser in Rensselaerville out in the Helderbergs this year added a homebrewers’ competition to its traditional chili competition.

• Power’s Irish Pub just opened at 130 Meyer Road in Clifton Park (former home of the Old Dater Tavern), offering 18 drafts.

• The Broadway Brew Pub & Grill in Troy opened with a beer-centric menu.

• Brown’s Brewing Company in Troy hired chef Luca Brunelle to rework its menu and create more beer-based foods.

• In August, The Proctors entertainment complex in Schenectady lifted the curtain on the new Proctors Brews & Blues festival.

• A new Mugs & Martinis Club has been instituted at the upscale Prime at Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs.

• The initial Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival was so successful the first year, it was held again this year at Bruno Stadium in Troy.

• The in-development Martell Brothers Brew Pub project is going through the permitting process in Saratoga Springs.

• The Saratoga Race Course held its “Battle of the Brews” tasting and competition for the 14th consecutive year.

• In Columbia County, we saw the inaugural “Blues, Brews & BBQ” event as a companion activity to the first Hudson Music Festival in August.

• In Saratoga County, the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center initiated its first homebrewers’ competition.

• In Glens Falls, the Davidson Brothers Brewery renovated its restaurant to meet public demand that has made the spot such a success.

• In the same city, the Glens Falls Brewfest was held for the second year to great public acclaim.

So, while sales statistics in most countries say beer is falling slightly out of favor with consumers, the Capital Region continues to drink to a different drummer.

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Beer, Brew pub


• Spa brewpub project slowly advances

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Martell Brothers Brew Pub project did not get the hoped for approvals from the City Planning Board this week, but eventual brewmaster George de Piro says the group should be back in front of the board for a vote later this month.

One of the major roadblocks is the need for approval from the New York State Historic Preservation Office, which has until November 11 to offer comments on the proposal that lies in a national historic district. In addition, the city engineer and Department of Public Works have requested more detailed technical information on the proposal’s storm water management systems. The proposal is for a 60-by-48-foot structure 100 feet off Broadway in a niche between the Saratoga Shoe Depot and a mixed-use building that has new Swedish Hill Winery tasting room on the ground floor. Beer will be made on-site weekly and sold in the brew pub.

“The Planning Board really likes the way we have amended the project to assuage the concerns of the board and our neighbors,” Di Piro said, “but couldn’t vote because they hadn’t heard back from the State Historic Preservation Office. We now have a letter from SHPO stating that they aren’t going to comment on the project, so we are very optimistic that we will get approval at the November 9 meeting.”

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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Brew pub, Capital Region, Upstate


Planning for National Sake Day

NEW YORK — Most spirits have a day or a month dedicated to them, even if the dedication has to be created by public relations folks. So, why should sake, the iconic Japanese drink, be any different?

October 1 is Nihonshu no Hi, or National Sake Day, traditionally the day brewmasters across Japan begin the process of producing their sake. It will be celebrated in various ways at various venues in this country. At Haru, the eight-location group of modern Japanese restaurants (seven in the city, one in Boston), specialty sake-based cocktails and flights will be the order of the day

The sake-based concoctions include:

Mr. Beam’s Sake Cider ($12) – A seasonal special served during autumn and winter, created with Jim Beam Black, Reiko Cold Sake and fresh apple cider.
Ultimate Saketini ($12) — A girls-night-out cocktail, created with Ultimat Vodka, sake and plum wine, served “up.”
Sake Runner ($10) — A reminder of the tropics, created with sake, rum and “island delights.”
Cherry Blossom ($12) — Created with Svedka Cherry Vodka, Nigori Sake, Peacu puree and cranberry juice.
Harupolitan ($12) — A spin on a classic cocktail, created with TyKu Liqueur, Ichiko Shochu, pineapple juice, orange juice, sour mix and Contrieau.
Top Flight Sake Flight ($19) — A tasting of Kaori, Kira, Wakatake and Kubota (only at Sake Bar location).

You can the rundown on food offerings, various drinks specials, and locations of the Haru spots online.

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge, NYC, Sake


• Spike TV renews ‘Bar Rescue’ series

Consultant Jon Taffer

Gordon Ramsey had a great idea for “reality” programming when he came up with “Kitchen Nightmares.” Take a failing restaurant business, give it a good shake, and, in most instances, make it a success.

The trouble is, Gordon Ramsey. The volatile, foul-mouthed celebrity chef relies too much on screams, insults, put-downs and manufactured drama to push his show along. Luckily, there is an alternative: “Restaurant Impossible,” hosted by a pumped-up Brit named Robert Irvine.

While he is forceful with the owners and staff of the failing restaurants, he is rarely demeaning to them, and never foul mouthed. He’s much more entertaining, his show more realistic — except for the cliche of made-up pressure concerning deadlines — and you don’t feel as if you need a shower when you’re finished watching an episode.

Now, along comes Jon Taffer with “Bar Rescue.” The show, which has just been picked up by Spike TV for a 10-episode second season, started off well for a cable show and has steadily gained audience. Last Sunday, against televised NFL competition, it drew 1.3 million viewers, nearly doubling the July 17 premiere viewership of 742,000.

“Bar Rescue” is a bit of a misnomer. What Taffer, a noted New York hospitality industry guru, deals with is full-service eating-and-drinking establishments. And, his shows deal with the food as well as the drinks, along with service, decor and marketing. His on-camera persona is alternately gruff, encouraging, teaching and, ultimately, decisive. Another altogether satisfactory alternative to Ramsay.

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge, Media


• City Winery adds The Barrel Room dining

NEW YORK — City Winery has added something interesting — The Barrel Room.

It’s a 30-seat dining room, a wine-bar style spot within the winery complex. The new space offers a Mediterranean menu designed by executive chef Andres Barrera, along with 11 wines on tap, plus the rest of the 400-selection wine list.

“The Barrel Room allows us to show off two elements of our business which have matured nicely, namely the high quality of our food and the delicious wine we have been producing,” said Michael Dorf, founder and CEO of City Winery, which opened in 2008. “We are also very excited about giving our customers the rare opportunity of tasting some of our wine using a non-traditional method but getting as close to a barrel tasting of finished wine as possible.”

Much of the tap wine, which uses a neutral argon gas, requires no added sulfites during kegging. Because of the inert gas, the wine is freshly preserved in stainless steel, eliminating waste from keg to glass.

City Winery is located at 155 Varick Street (at Van Dam), in SoHo’s Hudson Square. Phone: (212) 608-0555.

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Wine Bars


• ’21’ Club revamping cocktail lounge

NEW YORK — The revered ’21’ Club is in the process of converting its current lounge area into a 10-seat bar with what management says will be a “casual vibe.”

The project is expected to go into high gear in August when ’21’ is closed for its annual summer vacation. The mid-September opening of Bar ’21’ will have more than a new look. For the first time ever, the restaurant will serve tap beer, and patrons will be seated on bar stools instead of the usual upholstered chairs.

The history of ’21’ Club is a true New York one. According to the establishment, construction of the townhouse at 21 West 52nd Street got under way in 1871. On December 31, 1929, speakeasy-operating cousins Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns unhinge the wrought iron gate that had been the portal to No. 42 and installed it three blocks north at 21 West 52nd Street. They open Jack and Charlie’s ’21’ Club in the wee hours of New Year’s Eve.

On December 5, 1933, Prohibition is repealed. In 1934, Charlie creates ’21’ Brands, a liquor importing/distilling/distributing company. Its first salesman is then-aspiring English actor David Niven. Over the ensuing years, the restaurant/nightclub becomes a New York classic, drawing the cream of show business.

In 1985, ’21’ is sold for the first time, to financier Marshall Cogan. Ten years later it is sold to Orient-Express Hotels. In 1997, its famous Wine Cellar is remodeled, becoming a major private dining rooms in the city. In 2002, the new Upstairs at ’21’ restaurant opens on the first floor.

’21’ Club still is located at 21 West 52nd Street in Manhattan. Restaurant reservations: (212) 582-7200.

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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Manhattan, Nightclub, NYC


• NYC Stag’s Head cultivating hops

NEW YORK — The Stag’s Head, voted one of the “30 Best Beer Bars in America” by Paste magazine, isn’t resting on its laurels. In fact, the gastropub is cultivating an entirely different plant — its own hops.

The tavern, located at 252 East 51st Street in Midtown East, has planted Sunbeam hops in its rooftop garden. Sunbeam is a 21-year-old variety derived from the Saaz hop, a traditional pilsner hop. The plants already have hit the 15-foot mark and may get even higher since some examples of the variety reach as much as 30 feet in height.

These hops are females, so they will start to flower any time from late July to September. The tavern will be adding a fresh-hopped beer, also known as wet-hopped, to its rotation of craft beer in late August to September. The staff also will use the hops as garnishes for IPAs, and hoppy pale ales and pilsners.

In addition, Chef Bruce Dillon plans to experiment with the hops on his summer menu.

The Stag’s Head serves comfort pub fare, with a Southern-Cajun flair for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. It also holds weekly beer tasting events, all-American beer cocktails and offers live music every Monday night. Hours: 11 a.m.- 4 a.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 4 a.m. Sunday. Phone: (212) 888-2453.

The other New York establishments that made the “30 Best” list:

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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge, Beer


• Saratoga brew pub plan procceding

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city may get a new brew pub and brewing operation if a proposal currently before the city planning board goes through.

The brew pub project, which the board discussed Wednesday, would be located on Broadway (Route 9) between the Saratoga Shoe Depot and the apartment building south of it that is next to the Adelphi Hotel: i.e., behind the apartment building, with entry through a gap between the storefronts.

The project, which has a working title of Martell Brothers’ Brewing Company, is a joint venture of Chris Martell and George de Piro, the latter currently brewmaster at the Albany Pump Station. This week’s appearance befor the planning board was the second review of projected plans. The space between the sidewalk and the pub would have would a courtyard of planted trees and shrubs, and tables throughout.

According to a report in The Saratogian newspaper: Martell and De Piro “presented their early plans to the board in an attempt to quell some issues brought up by Sheila Parker, owner of the Adelphi, their potential neighbor, something the planning board praised them for. … Some of Parker’s concerns were the potential noise created by musical performances and the odors emanating from the brewing aspect of their establishment. …

“DePiro … assured Parker that the odor ‘is not at all offensive,’ comparing it to oatmeal, and said the portion of brewing that tends to smell at all only lasts 90 minutes per batch, which he said will happen once or twice a week. As for Parker’s concerns about the music, Martell said it would be jazz, acoustic, and otherwise quiet. ‘We want a place where people can relax. A place where people can talk back-and-forth without shouting,’ which he said is lacking in the city.”

Incidentally, De Piro wrote on his Times Union blog, “The working name of the place is Martell Brothers Brewing Company mostly because my partner, Chris Martell, came up with the idea for this project over a year ago before I had even met him. The final name will be different.”

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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Brew pub, Capital Region, Upstate


• The return of the Copacabana

NEW YORK — OK, first things first. It’s not on East 60th where the original was. And, it’s not on 34th Street and 11th Avenue where it once was. But, dammit, the Copacabana is back!

For those of us of a certain age, the Copa was the height of New York nightclub fashion back in “the day.” The headwaiter, Manny, lived across the street from me in a Long Island suburb, and his status was as great as that of any rock star in those days before the term “rock star” was the epitome of fame. His wife, Eleanor, ran the coat check concession and even she was at least a minor deity.

The Copa dancers, the fascinating orchestras, the pretty-good-for-a-nightclub food, the fantastic cocktails … . It was all a whirl of colors, flavors and fashion. Barry Manilow’s anthemic “At the Copa” hit some years afterward captured a bit of the excitement.

Last night, the Copacabana officially opened in its new Times Square location with Willie Colón as the headliner.

This spot at 268 West 47th Street, in the former China Club space, is the fourth Copa reincarnation. It’s on the fourth floor with a dance club, restaurant, rooftop cocktail/dining space. A VIP room is scheduled to open in September.

The Copa dates to 1940, when it opened at 10 East 60th Street, welcoming such performers as Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Tito Puente and others over the years.

The new Copa is offering live Latin music nights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and has revived its famed Copa Dancers, guys and gals specializing in everything from salsa to merengue to bachata and cha-cha-cha.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive you’ll find anywhere.

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Manhattan, Nightclub, NYC


• LI winery adds VIP table service

Bedell Cellars’ main building.

CUTCHOGUE, Long Island — Wineries are always on the lookout for new services that might draw visitors to their facilities.

I recently reported on Millbrook Vineyards’ round-trip van service between the Poughkeepsie train station and its complex. Now, in the category of innovation, Bedell Cellars is offering personalized VIP table service on its outdoor pavilion for patrons who wish to taste wines at a table with a dedicated server.

Guided by the waitstaff, guests select special wine tasting flights and regional cheese plates, prepared by the Village Cheese Shop of Mattituck, to sample. On Saturdays, fresh local oysters from North Fork Oysters in Jamesport also will be offered.

The maximum group size for table service is 12. Reservations are recommended, although walk-in guests may be seated as space allows. A tasting costs $18, and includes a variety of wine flights from which to choose.

Bedell Cellars was founded by Kip and Susan Bedell in 1980. In 2000, it was purchased by Michael Lynne, co-chairman and co-CEO of New Line Cinema. He had purchased Corey Creek Vineyards a year earlier, and in 2001 added Wells Road Vineyard to his Bedell North Fork LLC company.

The Bedell tasting room recently was named one of the top 25 tasting rooms in America by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive you’ll find anywhere.


• Pusser’s forces NYC bar to change name

NEW YORK — The tiki-themed craft cocktail bar Painkiller has changed its name to PKNY. It hadn’t planned to, of course, but that’s the legal biz.

The change came about as a result of a lawsuit filed by Pusser’s Rum Ltd. that claimed the name which is its long-popular tropical cocktail. In the lawsuit filed April 12 in U.S. District Court, Pusser’s — which sells rum, cocktail mixers and rum products such as cakes under the brand name “Painkiller” — sued bar owners Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato, claiming all sorts of nastiness such as irreparable harm to its brand, unfair competition, yada yada. It demanded the bar stop using the name for its business or any of its drinks.

The claim was helped along because Pusser’s holds two U.S. trademarks for the name “Painkiller,” one for “alcoholic fruit drinks with fruit juices and cream of coconut and coconut juice,” and one for “non-alcoholic mixed fruit juices,” which they market as “Pusser’s Painkiller Cocktail Mix.”

In a consent order recently signed by both, Gonzalez and Boccato, along with their corporate entity, Essex Street Bar & Lounge Inc., agreed to be “permanently restrained and enjoined” from using the trademarked term Painkiller or “any other confusingly similar term” in association with any bar, restaurant, grill, lounge or other establishment, or any “beverage, libation or cocktail” unless it is made with Pusser’s rum. They also agreed not to use the term in any marketing or advertising materials, and to give up their website domain within 45 days of the order, though the court did not require them to turn it over to Pusser’s.

We now are waiting for Donna Karan to bitch about the bar’s use of PKNY, which is very close in print and sound to that fashion giant’s DKNY brand.

PKNY, which opened in May 2010, is located at 49 Essex Street, on the Lower East Side.

(Our thanks to Jacob Grier, bartender and writer of Liquidity Preference, for reporting on The Daily Blender the outcome of the case.)

By the way, if you’re interested in whipping up a Painkiller of your own, here’s the recipe:

2 ounces Pusser’s Navy Rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce cream of coconut

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a dash or two of nutmeg.

Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive you’ll find anywhere.


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