Death & Company, in Manhattan’s East Village, is a bar for grown ups who enjoy their cocktails in an atmosphere that is more sophisticated than hip and more understated than obsequiously trendy. As for the cocktails, well they’re to die for. This bar has a long standing reputation for employing some of New York’s finest bartenders and it is well deserved.
From the moment you arrive at the down-lit door and step over the Death & Co sign, you know that you are in for a special evening. The bar’s ethos is a polite hat tip to those ‘who shun the night’ and a warm embrace to ‘those who shine after dusk’ and that is exactly what you get. The bar consists of a single lounge, the walls and ceiling covered with dark wood, the tables are topped with granite, the seats are suede and everything is subtly illuminated to create a sophisticated atmosphere that is only matched by the cocktail list. Now, you could have a lot of fun here and we are sure you will, but we suggest you start with a Manticore; Beefeater Gin, Velvet Falernum, Giffard Menthe Pastille, Cinnamon Syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters.
Death & Company, 433 East 6th Street, Lower East Side, NY
Next up it’s over the East River and into Brooklyn for the Extra Fancy bar, except it isn’t. Extra Fancy prides itself on being a good old, down-to-earth, bar in the Williamsburg area. The play on the name comes from the US working class staples that are jazzed up just a little and are then prefixed with the words ‘Extra Fancy’ to suggest they are now raised well above their everyday counterparts and while the bar claims that this enables them to take a playful attitude to everyday items and redefine them, make no mistake, there is nothing ordinary about this bar’s cocktails, they are world class!
The food menu is unashamedly New England with a strong focus on the sea, as you would expect, with the remainder freshly drawn from local producers. Before we get onto the cocktails, let me just say that the linguine and clams is outstanding. Onto the cocktail menu, which is broken down into sections that have a touch of lifestyle advice to them, Easy Going, Fancy Favourites, Classics, Hot Stuff and the Strong Side. You can’t really go wrong with any of them and choosing one is pretty impossible so, here’s two. From the Classics section try the Stinger; Remy Martin 1738 Cognac, Giffard Menthe Pastille and Mint 14. Then from the Strong Side go for the Yeah Ya Did; Rittenhouse Rye, Cocchi Americano, Cocchi Vermouth, Jerry Thomas’ Bitters 12.
Extra Fancy, 302 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Strolling back across the East River we can also step back 40 years at the Golden Cadillac. This bar is a shrine to the ‘grit’ of 70s New York and there isn’t a brown shag pile carpet in sight. Now, that’s a good thing because the Golden Cadillac sets out to make people think a little differently about the 1970s. The ‘me decade’ was all about guilt free excess and enjoying life to the max and to an extent that remains but the bar sets out to rediscover the lost cocktails and foods of the day.
In addition to some classic cocktails and one or two modern ones, there are a few that have fallen out of favour since the ‘70s but they have been brought back with a few minor tweaks, twists and improvements and a lot of loving care. The Grasshopper, Bloody Cesar and the Long Island Iced Tea are all back and they are better than ever.
The bar looks like it belongs in the world of the Osmonds, the Jackson 5 and should have a bald policeman sucking a lollipop on the door asking “who loves ya baby?” It’s very brash but brilliant fun. The colours are gold and brown with a dash of orange and brown, the seats black leather and the tables burled wood. For those of you young enough to have missed the ‘70s, the Golden Cadillac represents the best of it. Go and have fun!
Golden Cadillac, 13 First Avenue, NY