Posted by: Josey | September 19, 2008

Little Branch: Coolest Bar in New York City?

Top ten reasons why Little Branch may be the coolest bar in NYC:

  1. They serve absinthe and even sell the proper absinthe spoon for your purchasing pleasure.
  2. Their bartenders dress up. (I have a soft spot for suspenders.)
  3. They have very little overhead lighting. Instead, the space is lit mostly with candles in small, vintage, lantern-like votives.
  4. Their waitstaff is unintrusive, but accessible—without the slightest tinge of attitude.
  5. They provide their “house rules” on request, which could easily have annoyed me, but didn’t: “Rule #1: No name-dropping or starfu**ing.” “Rule #6: Don’t bring anyone here who you wouldn’t leave alone in your home.”
  6. No matter where you sit, you feel secluded; even the tiny, two-seater booths offer privacy.
  7. Their bar façade is lined with tin ceiling tiles.
  8. “Bartender’s Choice” is one of their menu items. (Jeff and I were celebrating when we visited Little Branch and asked for a “Bartender’s Choice” beverage—as long as it included Champagne. Our just-sweet-enough, just-sour-enough, customized concoction was a combination of Champagne, Applejack brandy, lemon juice and simple syrup.)
  9. They garnish their cocktails with fresh fruit—beyond limes, lemons, maraschino cherries and olives. (Our flutes were embellished with fresh apple slices.)
  10. Music can make or break an atmosphere, and Little Branch’s playlist makes theirs: blues and jazz standards with a crackling, LP sound.

Little Branch is located on the southwest corner of Seventh Avenue South and Leroy Street in the West Village of New York City. But consider yourself warned: In true speakeasy fashion, all you see from street level is a nondescript door; taxi drivers often have trouble finding it.

…But if you’re not the type of person I’d leave alone in my home, you didn’t hear about Little Branch from me.

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