Monday, April 4, 2016

TRANSITIONAL SEASON DRINKING: WHERE TO HAVE A COCKTAIL NOW

I feel bad for spring sometimes. As a season it's totally unreliable and usually only brings good weather for brief stints that are bookended by rain and colder-than-you-want temperatures. Sure there are cherry blossoms in DC and late season skiing out West, but I think we tend to spend a little too much of our spring "just wishing, and hoping, and thinking and praying" for summer.

And listen, I want summer as much as the next New Yorker, but before we go insane looking for back gardens and patios and rooftops that aren't completely overrun with buffoons, let's revel for a second in the transition. It's time to retire the mulled wine and spiked cider, and perhaps save that Old Fashioned for another night. New York is bursting at the seams with cool bars that are just right for spring: nice enough that you want to drink inside and blessed with a really, really good cocktail list.

Hark, cozy season is over my friends! It's time to don your lightweight outerwear, flash a little ankle and saddle up for a drink that tastes like winter is over.

BOILERMAKER: Do you like $8 craft cocktails? Do you like $8 burgers? Do you like Mai Tais? If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, you need to get to Boilermaker, STAT. Amanda and I dropped into this spot on 1st Avenue at Houston on Good Friday, prepared to check out their happy hour that goes until 8 p.m. (per the suggestion of The Infatuation). We ended up hanging out long after it ended, watching the crowd swell and liven up, all the while enjoying a seriously good burger and fries and (for me) a knock-you-on-the-floor Mai Tai. You've been informed and warned.

DUDLEY'S: This airy Australian spot on the LES has a delicious cheeseburger that is only rivaled on the menu only by the cocktail list. Fresh juices, cinnamon sticks, new takes on classic drinks... There's something for everyone. And while the brunch I had there a month or so ago was divine, after browsing their Instagram I can't wait to go back for dinner and indulge in some of that *pasta.*

THE HAPPIEST HOUR: This place becomes a real "scene" Thursday through Saturday nights, but depending on what you're looking for, that can be a good thing. I had a particularly vivacious evening there last year that involved perhaps one too many "Maid To Order" cocktails, but I couldn't help myself! The refreshing mix of mint, cucumber lime and tequila and all the cute enough 20-something dudes milling around took over my will power. This place is fun, stylish, and crowded. Navigate accordingly.

SUMMIT BAR: This spot on Avenue C has become one of my favorite places to meet and catch up with friends on weeknights. Their list of house cocktails includes a mezcal number called "Breaking The Law" that I love—which is highly different but rivals the "Smoked & Roasted" mezcal drink at The Wayland across the street. Summit also has really good and affordable bites, plus a cute little outdoor space in back for when it does get warm enough for drinks al fresco.

LITTLE PRINCE: This place is a little pricey for what it is (just being honest), but it's nice to sit at their lovely Parisian-feeling bar and have a cocktail—especially if you're waiting for a table at Raoul's across the street.

SEL RROSE: Nothing numbs the sting of a bad breakup quite like a delicious and fancy cocktail in an ultra-trendy space, am I right? The last time I was here I was fresh (like day later, fresh) off of being dumped and primed to vent. Amanda and Megan and I snagged a corner booth and delighted in french fries and cocktails with names like "The Hunter" and "Lavender Piscine." It was pretty and airy and I'm dying to go back and sip a "Velvet Morning" while discussing much happier things.

FORGETMETNOTThe full disclosure here is that overdosing on Forgetmenot's margaritas will absolutely result in a violent sugar hangover. That said, I love spicy watermelon margaritas, so I like Forgetmenot. The vibe at this Division Street spot is weird and cool and really fun for a group. The last time I was there (waiting for a table at Kiki's, natch) we found a deck of zombie tarot cards and tried to tell each other's fortunes as we sipped Palomas. Do with that what you will.

THE GARRET EAST: One of the weird and wonderful things about living on the corner of 13th Street and Avenue A is that there are eight bars within about 100 feet of my front door. Most of them pour a good beer, but if you want a real cocktail (and a price to match) The Garret is the spot. On weeknights before 7 p.m. they offer seven different cocktails for $7. The bourbon sour is tops. Also, on Monday nights after 7 p.m. you can bring your own vinyls for the DJ and eat free pizza. Just sayin'.

DID I MISS ANY OF YOUR FAVORITE SPRING DRINKING SPOTS? SHARE THEM! LET'S ALL HAVE COCKTAILS TOGETHER!

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