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
  • Maison Premiere
  • 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)
  • Jule's 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

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!