Sunday, April 29, 2012

Barfly's Beat: Experimental Cocktail Club LES

The Jack O'Lantern Cocktail at ECC LES
Loungerati's cocktail gal about town, Zoe Werner, has been a fan of the Experimental Cocktail Club ("ECC") Paris and its offshoots Curio Parlor and Prescription Cocktail Club since a visit to the rue Saint Sauveur original several years ago. So impressed, she established online correspondence with the proprietors, Romée de Goriainoff, Olivier Bon, and Pierre-Charles Cros, and made their bars a destination when she traveled to the French capital. When ECC opened its New York outpost on the Lower East Side this past weekend, Zoe was one of the lucky few on the "Friends and Family" guest list. The following is Zoe's report of the much anticipated opening of ECC LES.

"I managed to be the first guest at the soft opening of Experimental Cocktail Club Lower East Side on a misty April evening.  Unfashionably early was no accident since [any Loungers'] objective is securing that  much coveted piece of New York real estate - the bar seat! So, my party and I took choice seats close enough to watch the artisans at work and put in our order. Looking around, it is clear that the action will not just be at the bar. There is no rush in the shadows, no "We meant to" details covering up or blithely glossed over in the former Kush nightclub space. ECC LES is ready for business and seems very comfortable in its new digs on Chrystie Street. There were delays in opening the bar but you would never know it.There are many intimate cozy nooks as well as plenty of room for groups. A service second bar graces a back corner near additional sitting room. Like their Paris original, ECC nods to France are evident in the decor from the dignified wallpaper, to the flirty light fixtures, marble topped bar, and subtly etched fin de siècle style cocktail glasses.

From a service perspective, the barkeeps Xavier Padovani and Aaron Butler took good care of us and talked us through their process while they prepared our beverages. Nina, the gracious and lovely hostess checked in just often enough to make us feel welcome. As the space got more crowded, they did not miss a beat and kept the esoteric cocktails and welcoming conversation flowing all night.

The first drink officially served at ECC NYC was my Kelpie's Julep,  a smokey, spicy julep with a scotch whisky base. The julep is served in traditional silver beaded julep cup with a generous heaping handful of crushed ice and bouquet of mint for garnish. The first few sips offered a very strong return of smokey scotch, and the flavors opens up nicely allowing Sechuan pepper to emerge. A true qualifying round!

For the second cocktail, I opted for the Jack O' Lantern, which is autumnal inspired flip with butternut squash infused 5 year old aged rum mixed with lighter than cream coconut milk, and traditional ingredients such as egg, and grated nutmeg.Being a guinea pig next tasted so good and smooth!

The star of the evening was the a tipple called the Mancora. This libation was exceptionally well balanced with vodka and Peruvian pisco as base spirits and featured rooibos herbal tea, Malbec syrup, plus a Fernet Branca rinse prominent in the nose of the drink. It was my favorite of the night and I will admit it was nice to see vodka being used in a drink that did not involve cranberry or tomato juice.

For the night cap, we opted for the French Can-can, a sharp, refreshing swizzle with rhubarb front and center thanks to Zucca Amaro. The very en vogue purple dyed Himalayan salt on the rim will please foodies looking for a civil introduction to summer.

There are numerous adventures to be had on this extremely flexible menu. Become part of un joyeaux bordell experiment!"

Experimental Cocktail Club LES - 191 Chrystie Street at Rivington, L.E.S, New York - phone and website to follow - Open nightly until 4am. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This Week in Lounge: April 23rd - 29th

J Walter Hawkes at Clover Club Wednesday
Tuesday April 24th 
Primativa in Hi-Fi at PK-NY

Make an escape to your own private paradise with Primativa in Hi-Fi every Tuesday from 6-11 at PKNY.  DJ duo Jack Fetterman and Gina of the Jungle's signature blend of old, new, popular and obscure music is guaranteed to invoke relaxing visions of locales southward, so head down to the lower east side, order of the many excellent cocktails and let the tropical sounds wash your cares away. In Tiki Veritas!

PKNY - 49 Essex St (at Grand St.), NYC

Broad Appeal at Macao Trading Co.

Join LUPEC NYC founding member Francine Cohen, Co-chair of Taste of the Nation at the intimate downstairs bar from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Francine and her celebrity barback Michael Neff of Ward 3 will shake up $10 cocktails to support the Taste of the Nation and Soaring Spirits. Great causes and even better company!

Macao Trading Company - 311 Church Street, NYC

Wednesday April 25th
J.Walter Hawkes at Clover Club 

Our pal the Blatboy is teaming up with bassist Andrew Hall, Dan Levinson on clarinet, and Alan Carey on banjo/guitar for a night of jazz an cocktails at Brooklyn's Clover Club. Grab seat F14 and sample Julie Reiner's spring menu while Walt and his "syncopators" set the mood. 8:30pm - 11:30pm. Free.

Clover Club - 210 Smith Street, Brooklyn

Friday April 27th
Late Night with Kevin Dorn and The Big 72 at the Garage

Missed J.Walter Hawkes at Clover Club? Close out your evening with jazz drummer Kevin Dorn and his Big 72 jazz collective at the Garage in the West Village. Walt will be on tailgate trombone and a gin and tonic diet. This shall rock. 10:30pm  - 2:00am.

The Garage - 99 7th Avenue South, NYC

Sunday, April 15, 2012

This Week in Lounge: April 16th - 22nd

Drowned Ball at Zanger Hall, April 21st
Monday, April 16th
Tiki Mondays with Miller
This week at Tiki Mondays we are proud to welcome to the crew the affable Todd Richman of Sidney Frank portfolio of liquor brands. A man whose passion for his work is only surpassed by the savory tarts of Tortuga. Sidney Frank brands Barenjager and Gekkeikan Sake will be featured in specialty cocktails - which are half-priced drinks from 6-8pm. Brian Miller will make sure Todd walks the plank and you should join the motley crew of buccaneers and sample the treasures. 

Lani Kai (525 Broome Street, New York, NY) - 6pm to 10pm (Happy Hour) and event goes to 2am.

Saturday April 21st
The Murray Hill Show at Joe's Pub

THE MURRAY HILL SHOW will feature Murray's trademark blend of hammy Borscht Belt humor, irreverent monologues, joint-popping slapstick, so-bad-it's-gotta-be-good crooning, biting celebrity impersonations, freewheeling ad-libbing, and raucous audience interaction.
  • starring Mr. Showbiz MURRAY HILL 
  • featuring THE MURRAYETTES - Tansy & Bettina May
  • special guest star BRIDGET EVERETT 
  • swingin' & swillin' quartet - THE STIFF GIMLETS featuring Jesse Elder, Arthur Vint, Matt Parker, Kenball Zwerin
GET TICKETS: or call 212-967-7555 * For $5 off tickets, use code: JPTIXA2 - Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street, Greenwich Village, NYC)
The Drowned Ball
A grandiose remembrance of 100 anniversary of RMS Titanic's first and last voyage

Gemini and Scorpio, producers of themed colorful costume parties with live entertainment, are proud to present our first over-the-top event of 2012, The Drowned Ball. The event commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic with two floors of thematic live entertainment, and is also a fundraiser for their brand new events loft in Gowanus currently in construction. Here are the details from our friend Larisa Fuchs of G&S:

The greatest ship ever built sets sail once more. In the grand ballroom, an orchestra plays to slow-swaying aristocracy, all sparkling diamonds and rustling silk, while in steerage below, the lower classes stomp to fiddles and accordions. But mere hours later, disaster strikes, and with no escape possible, mayhem ensues.

Upstairs: chamber music by Trio Mio Myo and waltzes from around the world by Golden Angel Waltz Orchestra. Downstairs: Strung Out String Band whirls you into an old-time vortex as you're surrounded by immersive video projections. Michaeline Sexton is adorned in Asphyxia's Ghost couture apparatus by Kaytee Papusza. DJs to follow on both floors, with a wild remix of early Americana and modern beats: Joro Boro, $mall ¢hange, DirtyFinger, and Shakey.

In the tradition of turn-of-century Grand Ball art posters, artist duo Teetering Bulb are creating a one-of-a-kind painting to commemorate the event. Skink Ink Fine Art Printing will run a limited unnumbered edition of 50 12x18 prints on archival cotton rag paper, only available to event guests as bundled with 1st class tickets ($50) or at the event, if any left ($60).

Ticket levels*: 1st & 2nd classes board 9pm, and enjoy an hour of complimentary champagne, and a waltz dance class at 9:30: $85 with custom art print; $35 without. Steerage boards 10pm: $25. If any tickets are available at door, they're $10 more; only $15 after 12am. This event will sell out.

Dress code: Turn-of-century-ball meets Mermaid Parade meets zombies. Dress upper class or steerage, before the iceberg or after -- or even as the iceberg itself. Sea creatures most welcome, especially luminescent ones. Ocean explorers, bring your cameras.

Zanger Hall, 347 West 34th St, 9pm-3am, 21+
Tickets available at Gemini & Scorpio -  $25-85 presale / $10 more at door, if left / $15 at door after 12am

If you have any lounger worthy events for our weekly recommendations, please email loungers at loungerati dot com for consideration.

Tales of the Cocktail Celebrates 10 years

Loungers, below is a press release from our friends at Tales of the Cocktail.  They will be celebrating their ten year anniversary this July. Take it from me, "Tales" is a must attend festival for cocktail aficionados and newbies alike! The event runs from Wednesday July 25th through Sunday July 29th and promises to be the best one yet.  Please book you accommodations sooner than later, as the most popular hotels get booked up fast. Tickets to the excursions, competitions, seminars, and tasting dinners are on sale now at

New Orleans, Louisiana -With more than 200 events for both experts and amateurs alike, we will be making history during the five days of Tales of the Cocktail® 2012. For the historic 10th Anniversary celebration, this year’s schedule includes a host of events including a street food and go-cups event and new Tales of the Cocktail® excursions.
The Street Food and Go Cups event will show how in a city known for it’s food, a new culinary trend has hit the streets on the final day of Tales of the Cocktail®, Sunday July 29th. Food trucks are rolling through New Orleans serving everything from fish tacos to grilled cheese. At Tales of the Cocktail® 2012, we’re adding cocktails to their menus. Grab some grub, a good drink and a picnic table, and then enjoy a lunch unlike anything else.

“At this point in my life, I have few passions left that I haven’t addressed with gusto,” said Paul G. Tuennerman, Co-Instigator and COO of Tales of the Cocktail. “So, the combination of New Orleans, Food Trucks, and Cocktails is the natural next step in the quest to leave this life, satiated.”
The “Tales of the Honey Island” excursion, on Sunday, July 29th, presented by 42 Below Vodka trades the wild life of the French Quarter for the wildlife of the Louisiana swamplands. This exclusive Tales Tour will take you to the Honey Island Swamp where you’ll enjoy cocktails on board the airboat as you drink in the majestic sights and sounds of this famous swamp.
The “How to Strip for Your Man” excursion, on Sunday, July 29th, presented by Secrets in Lace and Spicebox Whisky is a sizzling class that is guaranteed to add spice to your love life. Do something delightfully naughty but nice for yourself and your man by following the easy step-by-step moves of veteran Bourbon Street ecdysiast GiO who will show you everything you always wanted to know about striptease. There will be a 20-minute cocktail break between the first and second hour of the class.
The “Mardi Gras Beads at Galeria Alegria” excursion, on Sunday, July 29th, answers the question: What happens to all of those colorful strands after Mardi Gras? Join in for a night of making artwork out of the Mardi Gras necklaces and chowing down on authentic NOLA cuisine at a happy hour-meets-art class. Gallery owner and self-taught German-born artist Stephán Wanger will lead a class in creating the kind of artwork he pioneered.

The “Urban Farm Tour” excursion led by Poppy Tooker, a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her hometown. She will take you to some of New Orleans most fascinating urban farms including Brobson Lutz “Bee Hive in the Hood” and the mid city chicken farms of Joe Brock. Ends with a wonderful tasting of foods raised from the gardens of Ye Olde College Inn a New Orleans landmark established in 1933.
The “Confederacy of Cruisers” excursion presented by Spicebox Whiskey lets the good times roll as you take in the sights and sounds of New Orleans from behind a pair of handlebars on Wednesday, July 25th and Friday, July 27th. This two-wheeled tour takes you through the distinctive neighborhoods of New Orleans as you soak in some history and stop off for some local cuisine along the way. Mixology maven Chris Hannah joins the tour, serving up some of the cocktail history and culture that lives throughout the city.
The “Curing with Cocktails” excursion presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey on Sunday, July 29th, presented by Chef Alon of Domenica Restaurant will give an introduction to the Italian technique of butchering a local Mangalista pig on Thursday, July 25th and Saturday, July 28th. Enjoy the succulent Salumi paired with a delicious cocktail while gaining knowledge in the art of pig butchering.
To purchase tickets or for more information about these excursions as well as other events at the Tales of the Cocktail® 10th Anniversary celebration, visit

Sunday, April 8, 2012

This Week In Lounge: April 9th - 14th

Songbird Queen Esther channels Billie Holiday Saturday April14th
Monday, April 9th
Tiki Mondays with Miller
Our pal, up and comping bar star, Garret Richard will be guest bartending at the island oasis known as Lani Kai with the legendary tiki pirate, Brian Miller.  Get ready for a host of island inspired elixirs featuring the rums of Mount Gay from Barbados. Each drink will be a vacation in a glass.  Richard and Miller promise, "If you can't reach paradise, we'll bring it to you."

Lani Kai (525 Broome Street, New York, NY) - 6pm to 2am.

Friday, April 13th
The Champagne Riot presents La Vie en Rose: A Sultry Evening Celebrating The Return of Spring

It's their Spring Fling, and The Rioteers are feeling friskier than ever! Celebrate the sultry rain showers and blushing flowers with a glamorous evening of hot jazz and even hotter burlesque!

The Girl With The 44-Double D Brain MISS NASTY CANASTA
Mind-Bendingly Bendable Beauty EKATERINA
Tap-Dancing Dervish GIN MINSKY
The Girl Who Spins You Round EVELYN VINYL
Boylesque Sensation GO-GO HARDER
and The Fastest Girl in Town MISS JEZEBEL EXPRESS


Dress To Impress: Bring colour to our world! We want our party to bloom with exotic flowers and decadent blossoms. Bright and romantic for the ladies, carnation-clad elegance for the gents. Fluttery gowns, flapper favorites, old Hollywood glamour... wear whatever puts a spring in your step

Dominion NY, 428 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 9PM Doors/10PM Show$15/Advance, $20/Door

Saturday, April 14th 
The Billie Holiday Project featuring Queen Esther

At this special event, the performance takes a theatrical turn when two Harlem icons collide in a mix of music and spoken word. Accompanied by The Hot Five, Queen Esther augments the relatively unknown yet timeless songs of the jazz siren Billie Holiday with newly unearthed Harlem fables by Zora Neal Hurston. 

The Apollo Music Café -- located within the iconic Apollo Theater -- is Harlem’s new night spot where music genres from the Apollo’s heritage – R&B, hip hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk, and rock – are transformed by cutting-edge artists in a stylized lounge space.

The Apollo Music Cafe - 253 W. 125th Street, 9PM Doors/10PM Show, $15/Apollo A-list advance tickets, $20/Door - seating is limited so get your tickets ASAP!

If you have any lounger worthy events for our weekly recommendations, please email loungers at loungerati dot com for consideration.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Destinations: The Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival

Loungerati's Eff at the Easter Parade
The Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival is one of the last remaining authentic New York traditions. From the late-19th century until the 1950s, over one million people attended the annual event. Crowds may have thinned in this last half-century, but hardcore New Yorkers with penchants for ceremony and haberdashery keep it relevant.  Today, New Yorkers will put on their finest attire, sport creative head wear, and promenade up-and-down Fifth Avenue for several hours like Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. It is an informal amble, and any line between spectators and participants ebbs and flows like the Avenue's traffic.

From a lounge lifestyle-perspective, aficionados of vintage style hang up their tweeds and break-out fresh and found bright fashions. If you like to see boaters, seersucker, bonnets, poplin suits, bow ties, boutonnieres, and a glamorous, sartorial crowd, it is a must-attend event. Whether one is religious or not, the Easter Parade is treated by the city as its entrance to Spring. Jazz Age stalwarts such as Michael Arenella & The Dreamland Orchestra set up guerrilla performances in front the University Club. Lindy hoppers from the decade-old website and community, Yehoodi, show up with prepared routines as shutterbugs snap the whole scene. The New York Times photographer, Bill Cunningham, nips in and out the throng to spot those who'll grace next weekend's Sunday Styles section.

The Easter Parade runs from 10 a.m. through until 4 p.m. Gather in front of Rockefeller Center before making your way up to 57th Street, then stroll back down Fifth Avenue, and repeat! Once you are finished strutting your finest duds and headwear,head to these post parade destinations.

Since 1907, teetotalers have been getting their tea fix on at the traditional 4pm tea service Palm Court at the venerable Plaza Hotel (768 Fifth Avenue). The recent renovation has restored the 1,800 square foot stain glass sky light to its original grandeur. Linger for the savory snacks such as truffled quail egg sandwiches or freshly baked scones and gourmet pastries. It is a luxury indulgence and but worth the experience.

Thirsty parade goers should promenade over to King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel (2 East 55th Street at Fifth Avenue). This is birthplace of the Red Snapper, the predecessor of the Bloody Mary, which was invented in 1934. Order one with Gin (Beefeater or Plymouth) to get the authentic flavor of the era and quench that thirst under Maxfield Parrish's 30 foot long mural. Try to pick out John Jacob Astor in the painting and no the barkeeps won't give any hints.

Happy Easter from Loungerati!