The only sign that a bar was hidden behind the door in the hut at the side of the 2nd floor East Village restaurant was the line that formed before 6 p.m., spilling down the stairs. Once the bar opened, groups of trendy hipsters flowed through the door, virtually unnoticed by the rest of the guests dining on sushi and ramen in the main dining room.
When we passed through the door, we stepped from a bustling Japanese restaurant playing pop music into a stylish bar with velvet drapes tucked at the corners of high windows, brick walls, and a mural of cherubs above the bar. Already full at 6:15 with people comfortably seated – no standing – at the bar and intimate tables in the main and side room, the place had a steady hum of conversation with the sounds of jazz and cocktail shakers in the background.
We were seated at the bar, which gave us the best view of two busy bartenders with their 20’s style vests and shirt sleeves rolled and tied, calmly but continuously adding dollops and tips of this and that to the shakers, and pouring out brightly colored cocktails.