Its been two long years since we handed out the Best of Lounge awards. The global pandemic pulled the rug out from all of us and sadly, we lost many friends, family, & yes, even some of our favorite watering holes. We thought it would be the new Roaring Twenties but the decade got stalled in the starting gates. So 2022, a year when COVID was still taking its toll but, fully boosted, we started venturing out more. New joints began to pop up and a limited sense of normalcy began to take root. In the spirit of new beginnings, we went out on the town in many cities across the country with old and new friends. In NYC, the Loungerati revisited some classic dining and drinking stalwarts like Balthazar, Gallagher's Steakhouse, Blue Ribbon, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Bemelmans, Heidelberg Restaurant, El Quijote at Chelsea Hotel, Smith & Wollensky, and of course the venerable Bamonte's. So please raise a freezer cold Martini to Loungerati's 2022 Best of Lounge Awards:
Lounge Scene Awards
Viva La Musica Award for Best Jazz, Lounge, or Swing Band: GEORGE GEE SWING ORCHESTRA at Swing 46, NYC
Honorable Mention: ALAN GRESIK'S SWING ORCHESTRA at Green Mill, Chicago
Most Sought After Ingredient or Bar Tool for the Home Bar: AMARO SAN SIMONE aka "Sansi"
Best New NYC Cocktail Bar or Lounge: SUNKEN HARBOR, Brooklyn
Honorable mention: MILADY'S, SoHo
Honorable Mention: TEMPLE BAR, NoHo
Best Barfood: MOROCCAN FRIED CHICKEN at Zou Zou, Hudson Yards
Honorable Mention: PORK POT PIE, Gage & Tollner, Brooklyn
Best of the NYC Hotel Bars: BEMELMANS BAR at the Carlyle Hotel, UES
Honorable Mention: Lantern's Keep at the Iroquois Hotel, Midtown
Best NYC Restaurant Bars: GAGE & TOLLNER, Brooklyn
Honorable Mention: THE BAR at KEENS STEAKHOUSE, Midtown
Best Cocktail of 2022: RHYME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER (Demerara Rum, Kola Nut, Allspice, Grapefruit, Grog Syrup, Bitters) at Sunken Harbor
Honorable Mention: PINCH HITTER (Japanese Whiskey, Koji, Apricot, Honey, bitters) at Chez Zou
Editors and Staff Picks:
Best Seat in the House: "REGULAR" SEAT at THE RUM HOUSE, Time Sq.
Honorable mention: Any BAR SEAT at SUNKEN HARBOR, Brooklyn
Best Cocktail for the Road: MILLER HIGH LIFE & BUFFALO TRACE SHOT at MILADY'S, SoHo
Honorable mention: GUINNESS & POWERS SHOT at MOLLY WEE PUB, Midtown
Best NYC Tiki Experience: SUNKEN HARBOR, Brooklyn
Honorable Mention: ZOMBIE HUT, Carroll Gardens
Best Dive aka "The Gutter Award": JIMMY'S CORNER, Time Sq.
Honorable Mention: MILANO'S BAR, Little Italy
Brian F. Paynter Award for Lounger Number One: MARK "THE SENATOR" VASTO (Awarded Posthumously)
For 2023, we have a laundry list of joints to visit, shows to see, bands to hear, & rugs to cut. These include - Gus's Chophouse in Brooklyn, Martiny's in Gramercy, and Swan Lounge in Chinatown, among many more in NYC. We hope to travel to other cities and visit old friends and new joints. The Loungerati keep looking forward to new adventures, the fellowship of true friends, and outstanding hospitality.
Til' the next Manhattans!
- The Loungerati