Top ten reasons why Little Branch may be the coolest bar in NYC:
- They serve absinthe and even sell the proper absinthe spoon for your purchasing pleasure.
- Their bartenders dress up. (I have a soft spot for suspenders.)
- They have very little overhead lighting. Instead, the space is lit mostly with candles in small, vintage, lantern-like votives.
- Their waitstaff is unintrusive, but accessible—without the slightest tinge of attitude.
- 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.”
- No matter where you sit, you feel secluded; even the tiny, two-seater booths offer privacy.
- Their bar façade is lined with tin ceiling tiles.
- “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.)
- They garnish their cocktails with fresh fruit—beyond limes, lemons, maraschino cherries and olives. (Our flutes were embellished with fresh apple slices.)
- 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.