Sunday, March 22, 2020

NYC’s Best Speakeasies and Hidden Cocktail Bars

 Places to visit after the plague subsides. From the New York Post:
In the back of HALL — the popular Japanese café and cocktail bar in Manhattan’s Flatiron district — is an unmarked door that opens onto a secret world: Odo, the kaiseki (multiple-course) restaurant of Hiroki Odo, who was formerly head chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Kajitsu. Serving nine courses, from an amuse-bouche of uni with caviar to sushi to sake ice cream, for $200 (not including drinks, tax or tip), the backroom spot is consistently packed. But walk past the restrooms of Odo to a sliding door, and you’ll find an even more exclusive place: The Backroom, a members-only club devoted to hard-to-find Japanese whiskey — like a 20-year Kujira Ryukyu or Yamazakura 963 from 2002. Chef Odo keeps the eight-seat room open until the wee hours for his friends in the food industry and other A-list insiders — a highly controlled list that’s kept strictly confidential — and it’s he who decides who gets to taste the rare spirits.

“It’s tough to find as substantial of a selection of Japanese whiskeys as you do [at Odo],” journalist and whiskey and spirits expert Liza Weisstuch told The Post of the collection served up by whiskey master Jordan David Smith, formerly of Le Coucou and Atomix. And whiskey is all that matters here — as evidenced by the spartan walls, dim lighting and wood plank tables. “It’s almost as though the minimalism is a trick to make sure you focus on the whiskey,” said Weisstuch. (Read more.)

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