Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best of Lounge - 2019

Don Spiro Lounger Number One 2019
 "Drinkify Me "Artwork by Dave Stolte

Aaaannnnd another decade down! 2020 used to sound like a distant future with flying cars and trips to Mars but all of a sudden it's next year! So let's get ready for a new Roaring 20s' only without that pesky Prohibition thing or sadly flying cars. 
Loungerati's 2019 Best of Lounge Awards go to:

Lounge Scene Awards 


Velvetina Taylor
Photo Credit: Richard Velasco


Best Burlesque Act or Performer*: Velvetina Taylor
Honorable Mention: Francine Dream (the 2018 winner), Sir Richard Castle's Wiggle Room, and the lovely Seedy Edie

Editor's Note: We went out allot this year and saw many great performances. Velvetina Taylor was everywhere - from the Wiggle Room to private Art Deco apartment parties to The Salon events and everything in between! A super performer who has not even hit her peak yet. I am sure there is more to come from VT!


Dandy Dillinger holding court at the Shanty for Repeal Day!
Photo credit: Scott Stanger
Diane L. Naegel Award for Best Lounge or Vintage Event: Don Spiro & Dandy Dillinger's Repeal Day Triple Party at the Shanty, Red Room, & Barrow's Intense Ginger
Honorable Mention: Loungerati Beefsteak Dinner, Fancy Camp 2019, The Salon's New Year's Eve Eve

Viva La Musica Award for Best Jazz, Lounge, or Swing Band: Mike Davis & The New Wonders
Honorable Mention: Kate Curran & Rogues Gallery, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra

Most Sought After Ingredient or Bar Tool for the Home Bar: Tempus Fugit Creme de Banane
Honorable Mention: Bitter Truth Olive Bitters, De Soto Petit Cocktail Shaker

Kenny McCoy, Barman Extraordinaire &
True Yorker in Esquire Magazine
Photo Credit: Aaron Richter

Best Dressed Lounger: Kenny "I'm in Friggin' Esquire" McCoy
Honorable Mention: Toby "The Gent" Maloney, Ashton "Dandy Dillinger" Warren
Cocktail Bars and Lounges
Best New Cocktail Bar or Lounge: Osamil Upstairs (Midtown)
Honorable mention: Stayton Room (Midtown), Black Emperor (East Village), Bar Pisellino (West Village), Sugar Monk (Harlem)

Best New York Cocktail Bar or LoungeExisting Conditions (Greenwich Village)
Honorable Mention: Long Island Bar (Cobble Hill), Dead Rabbit's Parlour Room (FiDi), Maison Premiere (Williamsburg)

Best Barfood: Sando at Katana Kitten (Midtown) 
Honorable Mention: Deviled Eggs at Ward III (Tribeca), Steak Tartare at Employees Only (West Village), Oysters at Blue Ribbon Sullivan Street (SoHo), Miso Wings at Bar Goto (LES)

Best of the New York Hotel Bars: The Rum House at The Hotel Edison(Times Square)
Honorable Mention:  The Sunken Lounge at the TWA Hotel (JFK Airport), Monkey Bar at Hotel Elysee (Midtown), Lost Hours at Hotel 3232 (Midtown)

Spumoni Cocktail with Espresso back at Bar Pisellino

Best Cocktail of 2019Spumoni (Neversink gin, Campari, Pink Peppercorn syrup, Fever Tree Indian Tonic water, fresh Ruby Red grapefruit, cracked pink peppercorns)at Bar Pisellino(West Village)
Honorable Mention: Yellow Bird (Plantation 3 Star Rum, Galliano L'Autentico, Cointreau, fresh lime, acid lime cordial, saline, lime twist) at Existing Conditions, The Runnable Stag (Dalmore 12-Year Scotch, Suze, Sales, Star Anise, Orange Bitters) at Sugar Monk

Editors and Staff Picks:

Best Seat in the HouseDug Out seat at Ward III (Tribeca)
Honorable mention: Any seat at The Grill, The "Regular" seat at Rum House, & F14 at Clover Club when in Brooklyn (natch!)

Best Cocktail for the Road
Ichi-mas Boilermaker (Sapporo lager & Toki Japanese Whiskey) at Katana Kitten (West Village)
Honorable Mention: Irish Coffee at Dead Rabbit (FiDi), Old Pal at Dante (Greenwich Village)

Best SaloonHudson Malone (Midtown East) 
Honorable Mention: American Whiskey (Midtown), Ward III (Tribeca),The Gaf West (Hell's Kitchen)
Best NY Tiki Experience: Garret Richard's Exotica Night at Raines Law Room (Midtown)
Honorable Mention:Cellar 335 (Jersey City), Mother of Pearl (East Village), Polynesian (Midtown)

Best of the InternationalsFifty Mils (Mexico D.F)
Honorable Mention: American Bar at Savoy Hotel (London), Dirty Dick (Paris)

ALIBI in SLC, bartender owned, Loungerati approved.
Best American Cocktail Bar (ex-NYC) Visited in 2019Alibi (Salt Lake City)
Honorable Mention: Cafe La Trova (Miami), Better Days(Miami), The Man Behind the Curtain at Platform 18 (Phoenix), Raised by Wolves (San Diego)
Best Dive aka "The Gutter Award"Jimmy's Corner (Times Square)
Honorable Mention: Patriot Bar  (Tribeca), Tracks in Penn Station - RIP (Midtown)

Brian F. Paynter Award for Lounger Number One: Don "Sazarac" Spiro
Honorable mention: Ashton "Dandy Dillinger" Warren, David "Grumpy Old Hepcat" Talaga

Last year we lamented the closing of many New York cocktail favorites, like the venerable Flatiron Lounge. This year we look forward to a new decade and what seems to be many eagerly awaited new bars on the horizon. These include two new Brooklyn additions -  Bar Goto Niban (from the Bar Goto team) coming to Park Slope and St. John Frizzel's The Sunken Harbor at the newly renovated Gage & Tollner on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. Tis' a new decade with new possibilities and adventures to come! The Loungerati look forward to more great times, the friendships to be made, and superb hospitality.

Til' the next Manhattans!

- The Loungerati

Beefsteak Dinner 2019

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of Lounge - 2018

Fredo Ceraso is this year's Lounger Number 1 despite his ardent protests.
He humbly accepted the award at the Loungerati Staff Beefsteak Dinner held on Repeal Weekend in NYC.

Wow! 2018 done already? What happened? It was a blur and we are looking forward to the last year of the "teens". Loungerati's 2018 Best of Lounge Awards go to:

Lounge Scene Awards 

Best Burlesque Act or Performer*: Francine The Lucid Dream's Pink Room Burlesque, NYC
Honorable Mention: Gin Minsky, Miss Puss-n-Boots, Gal Friday, Glitter Gutter at Slipper Room

Francine The Lucid Dream & Friends
* Editor's Note: We could probably list dozens of terrific shows, performances, and acts that Francine was involved with this year - it is truly remarkable. We are convinced she must have doppelgangers to do it all and wish her best of luck with her nomination for Broadway World Cabaret Awards Best Burlesque Show!! 
Diane L. Naegel Award for Best Lounge or Vintage Event: Don Spiro's Green Fairy at the Red Room  
Honorable Mention: Dances of Vice - Great Gatsby Party, The Easter Parade, Loungerati Beefsteak Dinner

Viva La Musica Award for Best Jazz, Lounge, or Swing Band: The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra
Honorable Mention: Brian Newman, Dandy Wellington & His Band, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra

Glenn Crytzer
Most Sought After Ingredient or Bar Tool for the Home Bar: Nikka Coffey Gin
Honorable Mention: Bigallet 'China-China' Amer, I Just Came for the Drinks by Sother TeagueOld Overholt Bonded Rye

Best Dressed LoungerAshton "Dandy Dillinger" Warren 
Honorable Mention: Eff "Occhi Azzurri" Blangiardo, Brian "Showboat" Newman, Lesley "Jee-Jee" Martin

Dandy Dillinger with Don Spiro of Green Fairy

Cocktail Bars and Lounges
Best New Cocktail Bar or Lounge: Tie: Katana Kitten (West Village) & Osamil (Midtown)
Honorable mention: The Polynesian (Times Square), Gibson & Luce (Midtown), George Washington Bar at Freehand Hotel (Gramercy)

Ben Rojo of GW Bar & Jelo of Osamil at Osamil
Best New York Cocktail Bar or LoungeDante (Greenwich Village)
Honorable Mention: Long Island Bar (Cobble Hill), The Dead Rabbit (FIDI), Clover Club (Boerum Hill), Dear Irving (Union Square)

Best Barfood: Korean Fried Chicken at Osamil (Midtown) 
Honorable Mention: Deviled Eggs at Ward III (Tribeca), Steak Tartare at Employees Only (West Village), Katsu Sando at Bar Moga (Greenwich Village)

Best of the New York Hotel Bars: Rum House at Hotel Edison(Times Square)
Honorable Mention: Lantern's Keep at the Iroquois (Times Square), Nomad at Nomad Hotel (Midtown), Gin Parlour at Intercontinental Hotel (Midtown)

Best Cocktail of 2018The Calpico Swizzle (Bombay Sapphire East, Nigori Sake, Calpico, lime, sansho pepper, blanc de blanc)at Katana Kitten (West Village)
Honorable Mention: K-Town Sidecar at Osamil (Midtown), Commodore Perry Cooler at George Washington Bar(Gramercy), Permanent Vacation at Grand Banks (Tribeca)

Calpico Swizzle at Katana Kitten
Editors and Staff Picks:

Best Seat in the HouseDug Out seat at Ward III (Tribeca)
Honorable mention: Snug booth at Dead Rabbit's refurbished Tap Room, the seat farthest from Phil Ward in Long Island Bar or Rockwell Place, & F14 at Clover Club of course when in Brooklyn (natch!)
Affinity Cocktail with Harleston Green Blended Scotch and
Deviled Eggs in the Dug Out Seat at Ward III

Best Cocktail for the Road**
: Army & Navy Cocktail (London Dry Gin, Lemon, Housemande Orgeat) at Flatiron Lounge (Chelsea)
Honorable Mention: Irish Coffee at Dead Rabbit (FiDi), Ichi-mas Boilermaker (Sapporo lager & Toki Japanese Whiskey) at Katana Kitten (West Village), The Derelict (rums, bourbon, banana, cinnamon, passion fruit, absinthe and juices) at Polynesian (Midtown West)

Army & Navy Cocktail at Flatiron Lounge (RIP)
**Editor's Note: The last cocktail we ordered at Flatiron Lounge the week before it closed was the classic Army & Navy. What a way to say good-bye to a cocktail stalwart!

Best Saloon: Hanks Saloon (Boerum Hill) 
Honorable Mention: Hudson Malone (Midtown East), American Whiskey (Midtown), The Gaf West (Hell's Kitchen)
Best NY Tiki Experience: Exotica Night at Raines Law Room (Midtown)
Honorable Mention: The Polynesian (Midtown West), Sunken Harbor at Ft Defiance (Red Hook), Cellar 335 (Jersey City)

Best of the InternationalsEl Pequeno Bar (Montreal)
Honorable Mention: American Bar at Savoy Hotel (London), Fifty Mils (Mexico D.F.)

*NEW* Best American Cocktail Bar (ex-NYC) Visited in 2018: Water Witch (SLC)
Honorable Mention: Rosina (Las Vegas), Lost Lake (Chicago), Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co. (Miami)
Best Dive aka "The Gutter Award"Hanks Saloon (Boerum Hill)
Honorable Mention: Jimmy's Corner (Times Square), Nancy Whiskey Pub (Tribeca), Tracks in Penn Station (Midtown) 

Was lucky enough to have a last drink served by
veteran bartender Jeannie Talierico. Thanks for the memories!  
Brian F. Paynter Award for Lounger Number One: Fredo "Don't Give Me this Award" Ceraso 
Honorable mention: David "GOH" Talaga, Joe "The Leisure Master" Desmond, Don "Mr. Absinthe" Spiro

Lastly, the New York cocktail bar scene lost too many of our favorite watering holes this past year. Flatiron Lounge, Julie Reiner's pioneering cocktail bar served its last drink after almost 15 years, Hanks Saloon, the iconic downtown Brooklyn dive bar shuttered, as did relative new comers Suffolk Arms. We will miss these joints and fondly remember the good times, friendships made, and hospitality.

Til' the next Manhattans!

- The Loungerati

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Best of Lounge - 2017


A stellar year for all things lounge - Loungerati's 2017 Best of Lounge Awards go to:

Lounge Scene Awards 

Best Burlesque Act or Performer: DOTTIE DYNAMO & Speakeasy Burlesque at Black Lodge, NYC
Honorable Mention: Francine the Lucid Dream, Rosie Cheeks at Hotel Chantelle, Seedy Edie


Dottie Dynamo
Diane L. Naegel Award for Best Lounge or Vintage Event: 2ND ANNUAL REPEAL DAY PARTY at Hotel Chantelle 
Honorable Mention: Prohibition Production's Bootlegger's Jazz Cruise, Green Fairy at the Red Room, Dances of Vice - Great Gatsby Party


Celebrating our right to imbibe at the
2nd Annual Repeal Day Party 
Viva La Musica Award for Best Jazz, Lounge, or Swing BandDrew Nugent & The Midnight Society
Honorable MentionKing Solomon Hicks at Django, The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra - Big Band Mondays at Kola House 
Drew Nugent 

Most Sought After Ingredient or Bar Tool for the Home Bar: NEW YORK COCKTAILS by Amanda Schuster
Honorable Mention: Bulu Pineapple Barspoon, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao

A must have for the HomeBar!
Best Dressed Lounger: EFF BLANGIARDO (Seigo's Customer Number One)
Honorable Mention: Kayla Ferguson (Queen of the Nile), Don Spiro (Absinthe Afficionado), Dandy Dillinger (Miss Art Deco)


 Eff Blangiardo enjoying a Gibson at The Grill
Cocktail Bars and Lounges
Best New Cocktail Bar or LoungeTHE GRILL (New York)
Honorable mention:  Diamond Reef (Brooklyn), The Pool Lounge (New York), The Office at the Aviary (New York), Loverboy (New York)

Best New York Cocktail Bar or LoungeLONG ISLAND BAR (Brooklyn)
Honorable Mention: Bar Goto (LES), Dear Irving (Gramercy), Suffolk Arms (LES), Maison Premiere (Williamsburg), Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog (FIDI), Clover Club (Boerum Hill), The Bennett (Tribeca), Nitecap (LES) 


Long Island Bar in Brooklyn

Best Barfood: CHOPPED CHEESE at SUFFOLK ARMS 
Honorable Mention: Okonomi-Yaki (Classic) at Bar Goto, Oyster Happy Hour at Maison Premiere, L.I. Burger at Long Island Bar, Ricotta Beignets at The Bennett 

Best of the New York Hotel Bars: NOMAD HOTEL BAR (Gramercy)
Honorable Mention: The Rum House at Hotel Edison (Times Square), Django at the Roxy Hotel (Tribeca), Latern's Keep at Hotel Iroquois (Times Square)

David A. Embury Award for Best Cocktail of 2017*: THE GIBSON (Tanqueray 10 Gin, Carpano Bianco vermouth, onion brine, pickled red onion)at DEAR IRVING
Honorable Mention: Improved Shochu Cocktail (barley shochu Mizu, Berkshire Etherial gin, cane syrup, Hitachino no Shizuku) at Bar Goto, La Marionetta (Gin, Carpano Bianco, Luxardo Bitter Bianco, Boquerones) at Don Angie, The Alaska Cocktail (Tanqueray gin, Chartreuse, orange bitters) at The Grill


The Gibson at Dear Irving
* Editor's note: This year, riffs on the classic Martini and Gibson were all the rave - from Thomas Waugh's menu of pre-made perfectly chilled martinis at The Grill, to the Tuxedo # 2's return to multiple cocktail menus, and every Gibson in between. Naturally, the Loungerati drank our weight in gin and sampled a broad range of libations to ensure objectivity. The above cocktails represent the very best of the best. Meaghan Dorman's take on the classic Gibson at Dear Irving is not new for 2017 per se but it sure was our favorite!

Editor and Team Picks:
Best Seat in the House: DUG OUT SEAT at DANTE NYC 
Honorable mention: Parlour Bar seat at Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, Any bar seat at The Grill - seriously we had to get there at 5pm on a Tuesday to snag one, a NoMad Hotel Bar seat, Dug Out seat at Ward III, & F14 at Clover Club of course when in Brooklyn


Best Cocktail for the RoadDUKE OF SUFFOLK (Ford’s Gin, Hot Sweet Tea (equal blend of English Breakfast & Earl Grey Sweetened 3:1 with Simple Syrup), Cream Float) at Suffolk Arms (New York)
Honorable Mention: Peroni Negroni at Dutch Fred's (New York), KANPAI! Sapporo & Choice of House Tequila, Bourbon or Scotch at Bar Goto (New York), Tecate & Montenegro at Loverboy (New York), Fernet Branca and Sessions Lager (in a can!!) at Bar X (SLC)

The signature Duke of Suffolk (rabbit ears not included)
Best SaloonWARD III (New York) - Welcome back!!
Honorable Mention: American Whiskey, (New York), Dutch Fred's (New York), Hudson Malone (New York), Bar X (SLC) 

Best NY Tiki Experience: Garret Richard's EXOTICA NIGHT (various locations)
Honorable Mention: Tiki Tuesday's with Brian Miller (various locations), Mother of Pearl (East Village), Otto's Shrunken Head (East Village)

Garret Richard at Exotica Night in Raines Law Room
Photo Credit: Don Spiro
Best of the Internationals: LICORERIA LIMANTOUR (Mexico City)
Honorable Mention: Old Crow (Zurich), Caffe Propaganda (Rome), American Bar at Savoy Hotel (London) Employees Only Singapore (Singapore), 1930 (Milan)

Best Dive aka "The Gutter Award": BAR 169 (Chinatown, NYC)
Honorable Mention: Nancy Whiskey Pub (Tribeca), Ruby's Bar & Grill (Coney Island), Tracks in Penn Station (Midtown, NYC) 

Brian F. Paynter Award for Lounger Number One: LESLEY A. MARTIN 
Honorable mention: Mark "The Senator" Vasto, David "GOH" Talaga, Don Spiro

Lastly, the New York cocktail bar scene lost a few of our favorite watering holes this past year. Mayahuel, the iconic temple to all things tequila and mezcal closed its doors after almost 10 years as did new comer and industry favorite August Laura. We will miss these bars but always cherish the memories, friendships and hospitality.

Til the next whiskey sours!

- The Loungerati


Fredo & the Loungerati Team
Maloney & Porcelli, Dec 2017