M1-5 boasts all the amenities of an upscale lounge, including a spacious, 5,000-foot main floor, private VIP areas, HD TVs and projection screens, a stage outfitted with a high-end sound system, and running water. But there is one thing noticeably missing: a cover charge. Despite the extravagant digs, revelers can party here without the added expense of admission (except for certain private events). This is due to the establishment's more laidback, customer-first approach to clubbing, and it is in that spirit that M1-5 also offers, but doesn't mandate, reserved seating and bottle service.
The menu is a perfect complement to the easygoing vibe. It was developed by Chef John Sierp, a New York City fireman who has cooked onscreen for Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray, served as a guest judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and was featured on Food Network’s Chopped. His gourmet take on comfort food includes barbecue-chicken sliders, personal pizzas topped with pulled pork, and the staff favorite, homemade cheese-rice balls with bits of Genoa salami. And in addition to to these classic American pub eats, the menu includes Asian influenced dishes as well, such as veggie spring rolls glazed with sweet chili sauce and steamed shrimp dumplings ignited with a hot chili sauce.
Spherical lights seem to drift in smooth bubbly spirals up toward the ceiling of Flûte Bar & Lounge’s Gramercy location. Conversation bursts effervescently off walls and artwork in a palette of rosé pinks and prosecco tans. Myriad champagnes and sparkling wines, including Perrier-Jouët gran brut and a range of cavas, form lacelike crowns of bubbles in an atmosphere that aims to blend the French art de vivre aesthetic with a dash of NYC nightclub. Patrons can select single flutes or bottles, or they can sample several flights that showcase different grapes, a single producer, or the patience of a waitress willing to help you pick out all the bubbles. Cocktails lean heavily on sparkling wines and include bellinis, a blend of prosecco and fruit puree, which pair nicely with small plates of cheese and fruit or foie gras terrine.
Flûte now operates locations in Midtown, Gramercy, and Paris. In Midtown, visitors descend a short flight of stairs before sinking into intimate booths or plush benches. The original Midtown location celebrates its speakeasy roots with fiery jazz nights every Saturday, complete with performers and guests alike dressed in period apparel.
“This is no Carrie Bradshaw bar,” The Rundown NYC firmly states about Bishops & Barons—a swanky cocktail joint created by the owners of Employees Only and The Gates in summer 2012. Despite fashion-forward accents of peacock feathers, zebra stripes, and delicate chandeliers, a vintage speakeasy vibe predominates, thanks to a gold pressed-tin ceiling, paisley-patterned wallpaper, and dark wood furnishings. Named for two historic Brooklyn street gangs, Bishops & Barons harkens back to prohibition's heyday with delicate cocktails dreamed up by mixologist Dushan Zaric and a flat-screen TV that only plays speeches made by Calvin Coolidge. The unique drinks blend together potent liquors including absinthe and tequila, with unusual ingredients, such as brown sugar, rosebuds, and fig puree. Bartenders also sling draft, craft, and bottled brews include Sixpoint Crisp Pilsner and Abita Light as well as seven types of white and eight types of red wine. Back in the kitchen, chefs put a twist on traditional dishes, from corn on the cobb slathered in garlic, lemon, and scarmozza, to St. Louis–style ribs crowned with honey barbeque and peanuts. The petite menu also showcases East Coast Blue Point oysters, quail, and wagyu flank steak.
A puff of smoke accompanies a striking transformation: at Horus Cafe, a small piece of New York City becomes a chunk of another continent. Egyptian hieroglyphics cover walls and pillars within a softly lit dining room, and colorful tiles pattern the tables. Middle Eastern music starts to play, and like djinni emerging from a multifamily bottle, a group of belly dancers begins to move. As they do, they might disrupt clouds of hookah smoke that smell of pineapple, mint, and other nicotine-free flavors. The music and applause can be heard outside, where outdoor tables brim with Mediterranean and Egyptian cuisine, with grilled kebabs and traditional vegetarian dishes such as hummus, falafel, and kosharee, a blend of lentils, pasta, and chick peas.
This is the scene at Horus Cafe's Avenue B location, where the celebration of international culture and cuisine stretches until 4 a.m. every night of the week. The displays of belly dancing happen four nights a week, followed by DJs spinning hip hop, top 40 hits, and international music. Similar festivities unfold at Horus' other New York City locations.
Dominican native Sara Taveras, her husband, restaurateur Luis Taveras, and Caña y Café's new executive chef Roberto Ferrer inject contemporary technique as well as European, Asian, and Caribbean flare into Latin-fusion recipes to create vivid, metropolitan cuisine. Flavorsmiths prime palates with a selection of appetizers that includes the pulpo a la brasa al estilo Mediterraneo, where Mediterranean-style octopus grills atop a bed of charcoal before curling up beside a pool of black-olive tapenade. Brimming with aquatic and earthly morsels, the paella Valenciana tosses shrimp, scallops, chicken, and chorizo into an ocean of saffron Arborio rice and sherry for diners to spear with miniature tridents. A grouper fillet struts out to tables alongside fresh crabmeat, spinach risotto, and chardonnay-butter sauce to create the mero relleno de cangrejo. The chuleton de puerco accessorizes its frenched pork chop with a Francophile trio of mushroom ragu, gorgonzola-truffle butter, and a spinach mustache.
Le Colonial serves diners an elegant menu of French-Vietnamese cuisine in a stunning two-story establishment designed by noted decorator Greg Jordan. The cuisine’s appearance is equally sumptuous: a quartet of crispy duck rolls arrives nestled in a billowy bed of taro, jicama, and mint ($10), and the tom galanga's skillfully seared shrimp arrive with an entourage of sugar snap peas and onions assuring them that they’ve never looked better ($25). Traditionally prepared meat manifestos include a wok-seared filet mignon over watercress and mesclun ($25) and grilled lamb chops tastily trimmed with dill rice and pear-arugula salad ($28). A plethora of vegetarian options, such as the ca tim nuong's spicily sauced grilled eggplant ($8), are also available.