Saturday, December 31, 2022

Best of Lounge 2022


Mark " The Senator" Vasto
 Lounger Number One 2022
 "Drinkify Me "Artwork by Dave Stolte

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 

Tansy Tandora
The Elizabeth Taylor of Burlesque

Best Burlesque Act or Performer: TANSY TANDORA
Honorable Mention: GIN MINSKY

Diane L. Naegel Award for Best Lounge or Vintage Event: GREEN FAIRY at the Red Room, East Village 
Honorable Mention:  LOUNGERATI RED SAUCE DINNER at Bamonte's, Williamsburg
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"
Honorable Mention: FORD'S SLOE GIN

Marlo Gamora
Best Dressed Lounger 2022

Best Dressed LoungerMARLO GAMORA, Rum Ambassador & Gentleman      
Honorable Mention: GARRET RICHARD, Barman Extraordinaire

Cocktail Bars and Lounges
Best New NYC Cocktail Bar or LoungeSUNKEN HARBOR, Brooklyn
Honorable mention: MILADY'S, SoHo 

Fredo @ The Rum House in NYC

Best NYC Cocktail Bar or Lounge
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

Garret Richard's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
(photo credit: Star Chefs)

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
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

Enjoy the Lounge Life, baby!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Lounge 2020: In Memoriam

There will be no Best of Lounge Awards for 2020. Instead, we raise a glass in a somber mood to the memory of some of our favorite New York City haunts & watering holes that permanently closed in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. The Lounge remembers:

  • Pegu Club
  • Lucky Strike
  • Daddy-O
  • Existing Conditions
  • Monkey Bar
  • Maloney & Porcelli
  • Ward III
  • 21 Club
  • Donna
  • Grand Havana Room
  • Grand Central Oyster Bar*
  • Nightcap
  • Rye House
  • Jack the Horse Tavern
  • Black Emperor
  • Ghost Donkey
  • Mermaid Inn
  • Bar Veloce (East Village)*
  • Saxon & Parole
  • Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria
  • The Good Fork
  • Blue Ribbon (Brooklyn)
  • Jules Bistro
  • Augustine
  • Bar Sardine
  • Fedora
  • Black & White
  • Copacabana
  • Porsena
  • Blue Quarter
  • Honeybee
  • Mother of Pearl

* Closed temporarily with no announced return date

Last but certainly not least, we remember Mr. Jimmy Glenn, a true NYC legend who passed from COVID-19 on May 7, 2020. Jimmy was a consummate barman, proprietor of Jimmy's Corner & a veteran prizefighter. He always met you with a welcoming hand, a smile, and a story. Rest easy Jimmy, you are missed.

- The Loungerati

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