As clocks strike 5 p.m. across the country, happy hours everywhere celebrate the end of another long workday. Every night from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., however, Black Swan heralds the dawn of a new day with its reverse happy hour. The late night festivity is one of many twists the New American gastropub puts on the traditional bar format. Along with pub staples such as fish and chips, chefs plate internationally inspired treats including a BLT amplified with farm-raised salmon, veggie empanadas, and chicken wings smothered in a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. Innovation continues behind the bar, where mixologists craft such off-kilter cocktails as the Hot "Bacon" Toddy, a blend of bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup served with a strip of bacon. An extensive selection of liquor, wine, and beer is also available inside the space that was once an auto-body shop, now transformed into a "sleek hall with a long copper bar, jet-black hardwood walls, and hand-worn tables," according to New York Magazine.
Slabs of slate glisten in candlelight atop rustic wooden tables, where white slivers of artisanal cheeses or curlicues of charcuterie fill each stony plate. Nearby, One Stop Beer Shop's tap-pulls and bottle openers unleash foamy rivulets of imported and American beers from breweries such as Hofbrau, Leinenkugel, Rogue, Bellhaven, and Harpoon, whose names and compatible astrological signs are announced on a wall-mounted chalkboard menu. Lively happy hours pour discounted brews and spirited specialties, such as shots of whiskey or vodka chased by vials of pickle juice or borscht, and weekly special events, such as beer-pong and trivia night, test patrons' physical and mental dexterity. One Stop Beer Shop also preps growlers of popular brews for pickup and neighborhood delivery orders.
Butterfield 8 is a first-floor lounge with skyline views. At the back of the room, past the dazzling chandeliers and vintage ceiling mouldings, hangs a full-wall, photorealistic mural of a misty cityscape. The ambiance is classic Manhattan, but the menu looks beyond its neighborhood to encompass pub-food favorites from across the country, often tweaked into surprising new shapes. Mac ‘n’ cheese comes fashioned into crispy squares topped with bacon, jalapeños, and marinara sauce, and philly cheesesteaks are packed into egg-roll wrappers with garnishes of caramelized onions and spicy ketchup. As for larger dishes, the menu drops into Memphis for pulled-pork sliders, New Orleans for crab-cake sandwiches with Cajun rémoulade, and the New England coast for plates of citrus-tinged Atlantic salmon. Though the venue is the official NYC bar of the Denver Broncos, sports fans of all stripes are welcome to take seats at the 40-foot granite bar and cheer as their teams compete on high-definition TVs overhead or suddenly parade past the front windows.
Little Town NYC unabashedly hearts New York. Of its three restaurants, two are located in iconic Manhattan spots: one in Union Square, the other on Theater District’s Restaurant Row. Little Town’s fancy for the Empire State shines through on the menu, too, with homestyle dishes such as the Adirondack chicken pesto and an Angus beef burger topped with crispy Berkshire bacon. The Suburb Backyard BBQ platter is piled high with enough buffalo wings, Nathan's hot dogs, and other locally inspired fare to feed a family of four.
Little Town NYC also takes great pride in its beer list, which features more than 100 local brews, including IPAs and amber ales that hail from breweries in Long Island, Ithaca, and Saratoga Springs. At the Restaurant Row location, you can enjoy a pilsner from Coney Island while sitting in a booth constructed from the beach’s old wooden boardwalk.
Upscale Gastropub Cuisine | Snout-to-Tail Cooking | Irresistible Lamb Burger | Cask-Conditioned Beer
Where to Sit: Colorful curtains close off the dining room's booths from the surrounding hubbub, encouraging guests to lose themselves in private tête-à-têtes and aliens to take off their uncomfortable human masks.
What to Drink: The Spotted Pig Bitter, which is brewed specially for Breslin, attains its distinctive flavor from secondary fermentation in its cask. The beer foregoes artificial carbonation or pressurization, with bartenders hand pumping each pour into its glass.
The Chef: Chef April Bloomfield forged her skills in the kitchens of London's River Café and Berkeley's Chez Panisse. She wasted no time upon arriving in New York, quickly opening the city's first proper gastropub, The Spotted Pig.
Let the Kitchen Decide: Large parties can opt for the expansive chef's-table dinner, designed for groups of 8–12 and served just three times each night. These feasts might include whole suckling pig or balsamic roasted duck, accompanied by sides that are hand-selected by Chef April Bloomfield.
Using the Whole Hog: The menu is a veritable tribute to the many uses of pig, meandering from pork-fat-fried peanuts to the apotheosis of offal, the pig's foot for two, which is deboned, stuffed with pork, braised until tender, and fried.
While You're Waiting: Head over to the bar to enjoy craft cocktails, hand-pumped beer, and a playlist that "bounces smartly between rock and hip-hop," according to the New York Times.
Inside Tip: Guests staying upstairs in the Ace Hotel receive the singular privileges of placing reservations and ordering room service directly from the kitchen.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Pursue the exhibits at the nearby Museum of Sex (233 Fifth Avenue), which approaches its risqué subject with a deft mixture of playfulness and scholarly rigor.
After: Drink in panoramic views of the city's skyline while sipping a cocktail on the rooftop patio at 230 Fifth (230 Fifth Avenue).
That's the question one Serious Eats writer set out to answer in 2009, venturing to then-newly-opened Sigmund's Pretzels for the first time. The spot's warm, twisty snacks, crafted daily by lawyer-turned-pastry chef Lina Kulchinsky, inspired an enthusiastic answer: the "plain, simply seasoned pretzels" fulfilled "all my wanton pretzel desires." Today, Kulchinsky continues to woo palates with her soft and pillowy pretzel twists, but has also expanded Sigmund's Pretzels into a full-fledged gastropub with pretzel-bunned sandwiches, gourmet small plates, and craft beer.
In the Press
Sweet, Savory, and Everything In Between
Kulchinsky has mastered classic pretzel preparations that use caraway or simple sea salt for seasoning, but she's also known for more imaginative flavors. Here are a few you might encounter at Sigmund's.
|Truffle Cheddar||Cinnamon Raisin|
|The bite of golden cheddar cheese makes a knockout pairing with the velvety umami of the truffles.||This soft, perfectly sweet pretzel makes it easy to understand why one East Village Vibe contributor wrote that "Sigmund?s pretzels really might be better than bagels."|
|Italian parsley and fresh garlic cloves impart a lightly herbal flavor to these twisted treats.||The fresh, piquant flavors add a Mediterranean twist to pretzels made with feta cheese and olives.|