Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bowery Hotel Bar, New York

This picture is super-sized only so you can get a tiny semblance of scanability out of it. In fact, most of the dinner pictures I took in New York are plagued by darkness. The Bowery Hotel has presumably been updated and reopened in the last couple years [note: no research whatsoever] because it's incredibly dark, irrepressibly retro, and packed with a carefully curated collection of ironically hip furnishings, nicknacks and customers. Here you can just make out the bookshelves in the the back by the bathroom, through the velvet drapes. The bathroom preserves the original urinals and tile details, which are cool. In a lesser establishment, the bathroom could look grubby. Here, it's just too cool.

Cuz and I were just stopping for a drink before dinner at the nearby DBGB, itself another harbinger of the creeping gentrification creeping over the Bowery (ironic club reference be damned). This is the bar; only hotel guests, or at least people who look suitably cool, get to lounge on the abundant sofas in the big lobby. Perhaps if we looked better we would have gotten to do that? The bartender did a good line in not serving us for a while, which I also understand is par for the house.

Eventually I had this little number, which was notable for the lavender syrup and cherry (sorry, the menu isn't online, so I can't tell you the name) as well as how quickly it dilluted. $16 doesn't buy what it used to on the Bowery, and as far as my introduction to the whole curated-boutique-artisan cocktail scene goes, this was better on paper than in the glass. Cuz just had a beer, a German beer whose name I've forgotten.

One thing your $16 does buy though is nuts (best thing about the new hip monkey bartenders on the Bowery, they'll work for almonds and pistachios!). And they were very good nuts. It's nice once in a while to be outside Japan and realize that the price of the nuts is just baked into the overpriced drinks, not explicitly called out in the seating charge.

I'm not saying anything much here, am I? It's just a hip hotel, and a hip bar, and if you can't pull the attitude and pay the prices, it's better to stay away so you don't end up with a rambling, half-grumpy review.

Y'know, the hotel web site describes the Lower East Side as "New York City's most vibrant new boutique neighborhood", and I think that sums up the whole self-congratulatory ethos. The decor's cool though.
(212) 505-9100

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