Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from your friends at Loungerati!

Tonight's suggested itinerary:

GMT New Year's Eve party at Campbell Apartment
This is a Lounger tradition ten years in the making. A bunch of folks show up to Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station just before 7pm EST and celebrate the New Year Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)! So put on your best duds and head over now for the early show!

Campbell Apartment
Grand Central Station,
New York, NY


Once your lips are wet with the first champagne of the evening, cab it to Brooklyn for the New Year's Eve Ball at the venerable Montauk Club. Festivities kick off at 9:00PM. Featured performers include Loungerati's 2009 Best of Lounge winners of Best Burlesque act and Best Musical act, the Minsky Sisters and Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra. $75 PER PERSON - OPEN BAR

The Montauk Club
25 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY


The entire clubhouse will be transformed into the setting of one of the most elegant parties in New York!Food Stations Open All Night!Open Bar All Night Long!

Dance to the music of the JC HOPKINS BIGGISH BAND featuring QUEEN ESTHER special guest JOLIE HOLLAND


MEMBERS: $185 plus tax
NON-MEMBERS: $225 plus tax


For Cocktail Lounge options, please visit The Dizzy Fizz. Selena Ricks highlights the main attractions for New York. One addition, Dutch Kills in Long Island City is throwing a New Year's fete, $65 open bar, Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richie Boccato behind the stick.

Finally, we are retiring the term "behind the stick" for 2010, that was the last time,no really. We promise!

(Image courtesy of Michael Arenella

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Salon at Players Club - New Year's Eve Eve Party Dec 30th

New Years’ Eve Eve & The Piano Store’s 10yr Anniversary

Fore more info & advance tickets, go to:
Advance Online tickets end Monday (Dec. 28th) at 11:59pm

THE SALON is thrilled to announce sponsorships by DEWARS and INFINIUM SPIRITS! This includes free Scotch tastings all night long by Dewars and top-shelf premium spirits from Infinium featured in our specialty cocktails, at our regular cocktail prices.

In the Main Ballroom:
with John Dokes & Hilary Gardner on vocals
(10 piece Big Band)

Upstairs in the Library Lounge:

with Guest Bartender
Eryn Reece (LUPEC NY and LOUIS 649)

in the Sargent Room:
The feuding vaudeville lovebirds.

In addition to live music all night long, The Salon proudly presents:

The Burlesque Tap Dancing Sensation

The Greek Goddess of Burlesque

Spinning an eclectic mix of soul, funk, swing & blues to keep you dancing

At the main bar, cocktails designed by our friends from
LOUNGERATI & WIT's END plus former Piano Store bartender KEVIN BROWN

Plus, Zelda: The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau!

AND special guest performances... including The Remarkable Theater Brigade (hot off their Carnegie Hall debut) performing FIRE, the caveman opera!

The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park S.
(20th St., off Park Ave)
New York, NY

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What We're Drinking: Scotch Cocktails

Sam Ross' Penicillin Cocktail
"There is no such thing as a bad whisky. Some whiskies just happen to be better than others."- William Faulkner

Scotch cocktails are nothing new for the lounge crowd. For over a decade, the Rob Roy was a standard, as was the Rusty Nail, Blood and Sand, and various scotch sours. However, there was an unwritten taboo about using single malt scotch in cocktails. In recent years, leading bartenders left their safe zones and expanded the range of cocktails made with scotch by using singles. Naturally, this peaked our interest and aficionados made a beeline for places like Little Branch to savor cocktails made with whiskey from Scotland's distilling regions: Islay, Highland, Speyside, Campbelltown, and Lowland.

Most of the new generation of scotch cocktails are typically built around a blended scotch, such as Famous Grouse, with a single malt as the secondary spirit. The most frequently used are young single malts like 10 year Islay (such as Laphroig and Ardbeg) or Speysides (like Balvenie or Glenfiddich) but we are also seeing the Highland scotch (such as Highland Park) finding their way onto the cocktail palette.

Islay scotch is particularly popular because the region's peaty essence gives the cocktail a smokey nose. The single malts enter the drink in the form of a float or spritz. It is no wonder why the Smoke and Mirror won 2009 Best of Lounge' Best Cocktail.

Our favorite Scotch Cocktails and where to get them.

Smoke & Mirrors

2 oz Balvenie 15yr Scotch (or other decent Highland)
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Apricot Brandy
1/2 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir & serve up, then add 1 spritz of Ardbeg 10 Year scotch on the surface (or other Islay). Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Where to get it: Raines Law Room, New York City

Cat's Meow
by Aisha Sharpe, Contemporary Cocktails/Rogue

2 oz Islay Scotch (Bowmore Legend)
3/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
2 tsp Cherry Herring brandy
1 tsp Absinthe

This cocktail is a scotch based version of Charles H. Baker's Remember the Maine. Combine ingredients in bar glass, add ice, stir rigorously and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Lemon peel.

Where to get it: Dutch Kills, Long Island City

Admiral Warrender
by Lynette Marrero and Jim Kearns of Rye House

1 1/2 oz Ballentine's Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Qi Black Liquor (a tea based spirit)
1/4 oz Demerara syrup
Dash of orange bitters

Combine ingedients, stir, and pour over large ice cube in chilled rocks glass with orange twist.

Where to get it: Woodson & Ford (closed) so find Lynette or Jim at Rye House and see if they will make it for you.

The Broadmoor
by Andrez Noren of Milk & Honey, London

1 1/2 oz Compass Box "Asyla" Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz simple syrup
Dash of Orange Bitters
Star Anise

Combine blended scotch, chartreuse, and simple syrup in a bar glass, add ice, and stir well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with star anise.

Where to get it: White Star, New York City

Penicillin Cocktail
by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey, NY

2 oz Famous Grouse blended scotch
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz ginger-honey syrup
1/4 oz Islay scotch (Laphroaig 10 year or Bowmore Legend)

Combine blended scotch, lemon juice and ginger-honey syrup in a shaker, fill with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled rocks glass, add a large sized ice cube, and float Islay scotch on top. Garnish with candied ginger.

Where to drink this: M&H, New York City

Scotch Law

2 oz Famous Grouse blended scotch
3/8 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/8 oz Chino Amaro

Combine blended scotch, chartreuse, and amaro in bar glass, add ice, and stir well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with lemon peel.

Where to get it: Little Branch, New York City

by Jason Kosmas

2 1/2 oz J&B Rare blended Scotch
1/4 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Navan Vanilla liqueur
Homemade Five spice Bitters

Combine over ice in a bar glass, stir until chilled, strain into a chilled glass goblet. Garnish with lemon peel.

Where to get it: Macao Trading Company, New York City

The Scottish Dandy
by Giuseppe Gonzalez

2 oz Chivas Regal
1 bar spoon John C. Taylor Velvet Falernum
1 bar spoon Yellow Chartreuse
Dash of Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters

Build cocktail in a chilled rocks glass, add a hand carved block of ice, garnish with freshly cut lemon peel.

Where to get it: Dutch Kills, Long Island City, NY 

Insider tip: We suggest Bowmore Legend for floats and cocktails using Islay. It is relatively inexpensive yet retains the smokiness desired from the region.

Enjoy these sublime libations responsibly, they go down way to easy.

(Photo of Penicillin cocktail courtesy of Star Chefs)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Destinations: Catch the Vintage Train Dec 27th


Our pal Morey sends us word of a unique New York happening this Sunday, Dec 27th:

"The 1930s-era "Nostalgia Shoppers' Special" has been running intermittently along the V Line between Long Island City, Queens, and the Lower East Side on Sundays all this month. The train cars are all authentic from the era, and still run beautifully. They feature wicker seats, original lighting, bladed ceiling fans, and period advertising cards -- all literally museum pieces. Such a treat to see and so much fun to ride!

A bunch of us swing-era vintage enthusiasts decided it would be great to add to the atmosphere, with period clothing, music and dancing. FUN and FREE with MTA entrance!

This Sunday, gather on the Queens-bound platform of the 2nd Ave. V train between noon-1 p.m. Dress in your favorite '20s-'40s threads, dance to awesome swingin' LIVE jazz musicians, and strut for the many professional and amateur photographers out for a unique slice of city life.

Most of us will catch the train departing the platform around 1 or 2:30 p.m. (or both), ride out to Queens Plaza and back. (Queens folks, feel free to meet on the Queens Plaza platform closer to noon and join us in the LES for dancing and photos.) Allow a couple of hours for all the festivity.

The trains linger on the platform between departures (spaced between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.), so there's plenty of time for mingling and checking out other cars and all the people.

If you don't want to dress up, please come as you are! Don't miss this unusual opportunity to see a bit of New York history! See you there!

Here's the official 2009 news release, with fun facts:"

(Photo courtesy of Morey Kunin)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from your pals at LOUNGERATI!!! Remember the words of the Senator as you spike the egg nog and dish out pickled punch:

"We shall drink to the end, we shall drink in the morning, we shall drink in the night, we shall drink in the gutters and the streets, we shall drink in the hills, we shall order wines with growing confidence and growing tolerance in restaurants, we shall order after dinner drinks and digestifs, no matter what the cost, we shall never throw up, and even if we do, which I do not for a moment believe, we shall boot and rally and make it to the last call!" - The Lounge Doctrine

For your Holiday cheer, Dizzy Fizz blog-gal-about-town Selena Ricks sends us a delicious recipe that won "Crowd Favorite" at her Puncheon Holiday Party that was held at Summit Bar in Alphabet City this past Sunday.

The Redhead
By Jane Elkins, LUPEC NYC

Multiply recipe by number of servings:
.5 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. grapefruit juice
.5 oz. ginger syrup
.5 oz. sage-infused Barenjager Honey Liqueur
1 dash Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
1 oz. Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky
1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. rooibos tea


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lounge Essentials Presents: Ten Cigar Smoking Tips that Sound Dumb But Ain’t

by Effervescent

1) The Triple Cap: Cubans are almost always triple capped. Non-Cubans are almost always double-capped. This is one great way to avoid the old label switch-a-roo trick.

2) The Black Ash: Cubans almost always burn a black ash. I’m told it results from the minerals in Cuban soil. Who knows? Regardless, I’ve yet to experience a real one that burned white, or a non-Cuban that burned black.

3) The Quiet Companion: The drink should never overpower the cigar. Steer away from full-bodied booze that will (always) steal the show. Believe it or not coffee, or tea makes for a lovely alternative while eliminating the risk of tobacco/alcohol’s synergistic effect on the C word.

4) Break it Up!: A piece of food can break up a palate that gets overwhelmed. Just tear off some cookie, chocolate, a piece of bread, an M&M, hell even gum or a light mint. My favorite, a walnut brownie from Diane’s in tony Roslyn Heights, NY. Plus J-Lo stops in there about once a week.

5) Ignite the Rim: Once the outside edge of the cigar is lit, the rest will take care of itself. Many fellas overdue the lighting, and start off hot-boxin’ the tobacco right off the bat. Just get the outer rim lit, nature will handle the rest.

6) Save it, Buddy!: Save memorable bands. One day your grandson will appreciate the band from that engagement cigar and might even sell it on eBay. One boulevardier I know even has a framed pic of himself, with his wedding Cohiba Robusto, and the actual band affixed to the frame. And that boulevardier, my friends, is Fredo.

7) The Lighter Your Draw, the Better Your Smoke: I’m not talking how the cigar draws, I’m talkin’ how you draw. Light, well-spaced draws are the key to low temps and greater flavor. Ripping through a cigar is one of the best ways to hotbox the tobacco and overpower your palate. Experienced smokers take their time. Towards the end of a great cigar, take faint short puffs and you’ll discover flavor despite the heavier tar presence.

8) In Your Prime: Following these concise instructions: Remove sticks from humidor. Fill humidifier, using a spritzing bottle, spray with distilled water and wipe down with paper towel, close the box for 6 hours, repeat spray/wipe/wait. New humidors require to be refilled more often for first month. This will prevent your cigars from humidifying the wood in your humidor. Many know of this tip, few actually execute it once a year.

9) There’s a Waterfall in Prospect Park!?!: If you think you’ve located every secret cigar smoking spot in town, you aren’t looking hard enough. Get off your high horse and ask another like-minded gentleman if he knows prime spot he wouldn’t mind introducing “just” you to. Bet he does. And will.

10) A Burden Shared is Half the Burden, a Cigar Shared is Twice the Cigar. Everyone can think of at least one fella they know who’s exceedingly generous when it comes to gifting cigars. Be that guy. Not the guy with his hand always out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What We're Drinking: The Baltimore Red

The shock of red hair hit you first. The twinkle in his eye drew you in and the tall tales kept you playing until he took your last poker chip. The scuttlebutt was Baltimore Red hailed from Pikesville, Maryland, but the country boy made myth into legend at underground Charm City gambling parlors. Red was known for ostentation, self-aggrandizement, fast-talk, entertaining banter, as well as his tailored suits. He was renown for playing the out of town gentleman lush, ordering his cocktails “fancy”, talking up amazing feats, and then confounding opponents with hands of poker that would leave them penniless. Between the summer of 1956 and New Year’s Eve 1958, the manicured card shark took the East Coast scene by storm and then disappeared without a trace. Some say he took his game to Meyer Lansky's Havana and ended up on the wrong side of the Revolution. Others say he went west to Vegas and got busted counting cards. No one ever caught Baltimore Red’s real name or learned of his fate. However, like his velvet smooth moves and infamous bluffs, you will not forget his eponymous drink. So bet on red and enjoy.

Shot and a half of Pikesville Straight Rye, ounce of Dubonnet Rouge, a splash of Falernum, two dashes bitters – one of Peychaud's and one of aromatic. Mix it in cold bar glass, add a few lumps of ice, and stir it up a dozen or so times. Strain into a fancy cocktail glass, garnish with an orange peel, burnt if the stakes are high, ya follow?

(As described to the author by an elderly ginger haired dandy claiming to be the missing rounder on a bench in Baltimore’s Penn Station.)

Translation of recipe:

an original cocktail by Fredo

2 oz of Rye (Pikesville)
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
2 bar spoons Velvet Falernum (John C. Taylor)
1 dash Peychaud bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey barrel bitters (or Angostura)
1 orange peel

Combine liquids in mixing glass, add ice cubes, stir with mixing spoon until chilled, strain into cocktail glass and add orange twist (burnt twist is optional for the extra flair).

Where to get it: Fredo's Home bar

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Destinations: The Winter Ball Dec 12th

Loungerati's best musical act of 2009, Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra team up with The George Gee Swing Orchestra to cordially invite you to...

Saturday Dec. 12th, 2009
Doors 8PM, Music 9PM

Michael Arenella & His Hot Eight and The George Gee Swing Orchestra partner up to present December's hottest holiday dance event.

At Brooklyn's most enchanting little speakeasy, the Green Building, a 19th-century warehouse nestled along the banks of the Gowanus Canal, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

A most festive assortment of winter follies:
- Grace Gotham - burlesque beauty
- The Minsky Sisters - world renowned '20s tap duo and Loungerati Best Burlesque Act of 2009
- Roddy Caravella & His Varsity Syncopators - wobbly-kneed Charleston-dancing troublemakers
- Special musical guest Drew Nugent
Plus -
-On-the-spot vintage portraits by Tsirkus Fotografika

- Cocktails served by expert mixologists from Court & Spark and Loungerati.
- A tasty variety of sweet treats will be available if you're feeling peckish.
- Raffle with fabulous prizes!

The Green Building

450 Union Street
just a short walk from the following major subway lines:
- F/G to Carroll Street
- R to Union Street

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saloon Series: The Muppet Show

by The Senator

One of the great things about living – and working – in Greenwich Village, NY is that you are only 10-feet or so from a completely different scene.
While it’s true that there are some constants – dirt, rats, the incessant bleating of car horns – you can seamlessly move from the south of Spain to Mexico, to Italy or Ireland, a Yankee bar or Mets stronghold all in the same block. On this night, Chef Sebastian and I are in Albania.

It’s been a tough night for me and Sebastian, as usual. The restaurant he owned and I managed had the ignominy of being located right next to the most popular pizza restaurant in the entire city. Most restaurateurs would probably think this was a good thing. They would plan to take advantage of the runoff, but at our restaurant -- a place that could best be described as a chef driven seafood fusion place -- wasn’t going to lure the guy who drove all the way from the Poconos to eat at that cardboard pizza joint.

Adding insult to our injury, the line to get into the pizza place also ran past our front door, so it was as if you had to run a gauntlet just to get into our place. And if you thought a few folks would at least succumb to the idea of getting a quick cocktail at our restaurant, think again: due to the arcane New York City liquor and “cabaret” laws, we were not allowed to serve hard liquor because we were within so many feet of a church. On top of that, it wasn’t even what New Yorkers would consider a “real” church…it was some sort of bible study place – housed in a two-story brownstone -- more condominium than cathedral. Because of that, we couldn’t serve a Martini? You have to love the idiocy of blue laws…place a crucifix within a football field of your bar and your patrons are only permitted to get blasted off of beer or wine, but not gin or whiskey, because that would, like, lead to Satan or something.

That said, every night began with the same ritual for me and Sebastian – a glass of Pastis over ice (bootlegged, of course). The way the night ended would vary according to our mood but halftime would come at around 11 pm when we would go across the street to an Italian restaurant run by a bunch of Albanians because there we could get an honest drink (they were something like two-feet further west of the pseudo-church and had a full liquor license).

Over drinks, we would complain about the night or he would lecture me about a problem he thought he saw with the staff. We could keep an eye on the restaurant from across the street – a real professional setup, the manager and chef of the restaurant on the clock, not there. Truth be told, were getting flat out blasted and at the time, it seemed right..

The Albanians, for the most part, didn’t like us. We brought nothing to the place insofar as glamour. Sebastian wore a white chef’s coat that looked like he had thrown up all over it and I wore the typical sports jacket that restaurant managers wear, you know…the one hadn’t been dry cleaned in, oh, about four years? And because we had been working the floor that night, our tongues were always razor sharp, and we were pretty sarcastic to begin with. The Albanians were a bit shaky with their English, so when we’d make fun of them – which was a near constant – they would get flustered and their only comeback was, “You are stupid!” (but because of the accent it sounded more like “you are shtoopid!” which made us laugh all the more).

We delighted in watching their mistakes. If the server took over a dish from the kitchen to show Sebastian, Sebastian would always nitpick something. “Is that cheese on fish? Go back to Albania with that dish.” (The reply: “You are shtoopid!”) I would put the bartender through outrageous hoops, ordering “Singapore Slings” or just making up drinks that never existed, like an “artichoke kefir.” And when they really started to falter, really started to show us fear, that’s when we’d break into song.

There’s an episode of Cheers where Coach tries to pass a test and one of the questions involves Albania and he can never remember where it is, so the bar suggests a pneumonic device. “Put it into a song,” says Norm. So they do, and the result is a song sung to the tune of “The Saints Go Marching In.”

“Albania! Albania! You border on the Adriatic! Your terrain is mostly mountainous and your chief export is chrome!”

This, as you can imagine, would drive the Albanians insane and fluster them all the more. At first, the patrons of the restaurant thought it was annoying, but after a few lively choruses, even they got the joke. Even the piano player – an Albanian himself -- got into the spirit after a few rounds, gamely pounding out the notes of the tune on the baby grand. Soon the whole restaurant would get the idea and sing along.

But the Albanian’s didn’t understand the cue.

“You are shtoopid!”

Silence. Sebastian blinks. Then the hands start pounding the bar and tabletops in unison yet again.

“Albania! Albania!”

Everyone wants an excuse for a fun time, no matter how shtoopid it may seem. Our sing along got to the point where some people were doing close approximations of alpine dances, skipping through the aisles. Others threw their napkins in the air. People clapped along joyously. People out in the street craned their necks to see just what the hell was going on inside this little Italian place. And behind the bar, the cute bartender that I had just ordered a “Flaming Albanian” from was tossing her head back and laughing. The server was furious.

“Why are you laughing at ‘zem? They are shtoopid!”

“No zey’re not,” she said, her face red with laughter as the bar do-si-do’d together. “They are so funny! They are just like ze Muppets!”

And that is how nicknames are born. That is how, when a neighbor introduces his kid to the chef by saying, “this is the chef!” his reply is to pull out a cigarette, light it, inhale, exhale and say, “No, I’m not the chef. I’m a Muppet.”

Hey, there are worse things to be…and their chief export is chrome.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Repeal Day!!

On this day, December 5th, in 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution became law. This piece of legislation repealed the 18th Amendment's Prohibition of alcohol. The last state to ratify the amendment in the State conventions, thus passing the 3/4 majority required to amend the Constitution under Article 5, was Utah! So three cheers to Utah!

XXI Amendment

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Today is also the third anniversary of Loungerati. In 2006 as the lounge website was closed down by it's eponymous founder, a select group of Loungers refused to go quietly. It wasn't last call yet, and there was an open bar of opportunity and ideas. Loungerati was born on a cocktail napkin and continues to serve as an outlet to those who enjoy Lounge culture, the sporting life, exquisite cocktails, classic music, and a good time!

So please join us at WARD III in Tribeca, NYC tonight to celebrate your right to imbibe and Loungerati's birthday.