Quest for Fire in the West Village
Whether it’s for happy hour, dinner with your boys, a date or Sunday brunch, it’s rarely a struggle to find a reason to Occupy one of the many bars or restaurants in the West Village and engage in some good ol’ fashioned boozin’. Choosing the top cocktails in the WV is no easy task; if I felt like being lazy, I guess I could just type: “Go to Little Branch,” and call it a day. But I’ve never taken well to laziness and besides, that would make for one boring list. So, here follows, in no particular order, my top 6 cocktails of the West Village:
#6 The Ricky at Diablo
Half beer, half frozen margarita, all up in your face. The only way I’ve ever enjoyed a frozen margarita, I’ve ended plenty of nights with this stroke of genius. Beware brain freezes and the temptation to confuse the Ricky with a regular beer. I know it sounds obvious, but the frozen margarita element just doesn’t seem like it should pack the punch it does.
#5 The 2008 C.O.S. Nero d’Avola “Nero di Lupo” at Anfora
Wine bar, really?? Yeah, really. Come by this place on a Saturday night and you’ll not only find the best list of wines-by-the-glass in the WV, but you’ll also find a very… ahem… intelligent-looking crowd. If you’ve already found that intelligent someone in your life, Anfora makes for a great date spot too. Although it’s hard to go wrong with any of the wines on the list, the Nero d’Avola is my go-to. A very drinkable Sicilian red from a small producer, it’s one of my favorite everyday wines out there.
#4 Bloody Mary no. 20 at Joseph Leonard
When restaurateur Gabe Stulman was an undergrad at Wisconsin, he entered in a statewide bloody mary competition where he placed 3rd. That was ten years ago. If that competition were to take place today, I don’t think anyone else would even bother showing up. It’s just that good. If the wait’s too long at JL, you can find the same bloody across the street at Jeffrey’s. And if you haven’t had the fried chicken sandwich at JL yet, your life is about to change.
#3 Old Speckled Hen on tap at the Spotted Pig
Not a cocktail, you say? Perhaps, but goddamn this is an awesome beer. Pair it with the best deviled eggs in the City or devils on horseback (British for ‘bacon-wrapped dates’) and happy hour just got a lot happier.
#2 Brian Bartels at Fedora
Ok, so Brian Bartels is not a cocktail, he’s the GM and the brains behind most of the cocktails at Fedora. While he may not yet be in the company of Jim Meehan or Sam Ross, Mr. Bartels is rapidly rising in the world of NYC mixology. Brown liquor cocktails are his specialty. Playing with ever changing house-made bitters varying from root beer to pumpkin to beef jerky (used in the on-the-menu Honey Badger because the Honey Badger doesn’t give a f**k!), Brian consistently bangs out whiskey drinks that’ll wipe out a bad day in a heartbeat.
#1 Recession Special at Fatty Crab
Take a can of PBR, a shot of whiskey and some Malay-spiced pickle juice, charge $10 and you have the aptly named Recession Special. Some nights, the best trio since LeBron brought his talents to South Beach gets swapped out for an all-star combo from south of the border: Tecate, tequila and a sangrita chaser. Btw, one of the best kept secrets in the West Village is the Fatty slider; arguably, one of the best burgers in the City.