Barlife

While there is only one New York, this is already the second and final edition of Sneakerzimmer’s bar guide to share our personal insights into NYC’s best bars and bartenders. Watching the Covid-19 drama unfold, the last weeks were extremely painful. We can only hope for better times. Our minds and hearts belong to all the great people of NYC, the doctors and nurses, the hard-working employees in the hospitality industry, who might have lost their jobs, and especially to our friends Emily and Hamid. Let’s focus on the light at the end of the tunnel! In the meantime a drink and our guide might help to shorten the wait.

Food Guide New York-51

Hey, you’re the comeback kid
See me look away
I’m the runaway
I’m the stay out late
I’m recovering

– Sharon Van Etten, Comeback Kid

****

Crown Shy (Financial District)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-5

Yes this is a bar in a restaurant – or more precisely – a very good bar in a very good restaurant. Last year’s opening of Jeff Katz’s and chef James Kent’s fine dining temple Crown Shy on Pine Street certainly ranked among New York’s hottest new restaurants. We are totally in love with Crown Shy’s unique combination of exquisite food in a truly remarkable setting. But the elegant Art Décoarchitecture is not only home to a memorable dining experience (please see our latest NYC food guide for more details), the ambitious bar program curated by head bartender Harrison Ginsberg – formerly The Dead Rabbit – also puts Crown Shy among NYC’s top spots for cocktail lovers. Harrison pointed out that classic cocktails are usually quite strong in NYC. But as more and more people tend to low-ABV drinks (ABV stands for “alcoholic strength by volume”) they decided to reduce the alcoholic content of their own creations – also with regard to the flavorful food that should not be dominated by a excessively stiff beverage pairing. Their highball section called “Crowns” mixes different popular spirits like vodka, pisco or gin with fruity or other seasonal ingredients to create a crisp and refreshing long drink. All “Crowns” like the pictured “Vodka Crown” with tarragon and cucumber are served in a picturesque glassware matching the distinctive Art Déco style of the place. The other drinks from Crown Shy’s sophisticated bar menu are divided into a “Stirred & Bold” and a “Shaken & Fresh” section. The Tequila-based “Radicle” uses habanero chili to create a mild heat that goes astonishingly well with the flavors of raspberry and rhubarb. We also don’t want to forget the non-alcoholic choices. It doesn’t matter if you just come by  for a drink at the bar or for the full dinner experience (highly recommended) — in either case Crown Shy is more than a safe bet!

Bar Guide NYC New York-7 Bar Guide NYC New York Bar Guide NYC New York-6 Bar Guide NYC New York-4 Bar Guide NYC New York-3

Subject (Lower East Side)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-15

How do you find the best bars in a big city like New York? Ask the professionals! No we aren‘ttalking about ourselves, we just soak up all recommendations from bartenders and industry insiders who we meet during our trips and squeeze them into a handy guide. It’s easy to miss a nondescript spot like Subject even if you think that you know a lot about the Lower East Side. But with a little help from Sean Saunders of Devon (check out our first NYC bar guide) we were thankfully pointed in the right direction. Subject could be the prototype of a low-key neighborhood joint. It’s unpretentious, cozy, honest and always available. At least this place is open every day of the year until 4 AM. Even for New York this seems more than rare and it might explain why Subject is a favorite among bartenders. In the back a big screen shows cult movies mostly from the 90’s and 2000’s adding to the homely living room feeling. Here you simply grab a seat at the bar and start a chat with the bartender. Perhaps you will catch Brian Grummart on his shift. We can assure you that you will be in good hands (that’s quite an understatement). Brian may recommend you one of their house cocktails like the extremely delicious “Thyme lasts forever”. The combination of gin, thyme liqueur – hence the name – kiwi and fresh lemon makes for a surprisingly well-balanced drink. If somebody started a petition for more kiwi cocktails, count us in! At Subject there’s no false affectation, no showing off, no fake hospitality. While the crowd on a Friday or Saturday night can sometimes get a little too jolly, Subject still manages to keep its self-proclaimed “Welcome Home” vibes. Those are even more present on weekdays.

Bar Guide NYC New York-10 Bar Guide NYC New York-12 Bar Guide NYC New York-13 Bar Guide NYC New York-11

The Long Island Bar (Cobble Hill)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-22

It’s not easy to blend the old with the new, the past with the present, but despite all the obstacles that could arise from such an endeavor, some places hit all the right notes. Let’s introduce The Long Island Bar on Cobble Hill’s Atlantic Avenue as a blueprint for this tricky concept. In business since 1951 and under a new ownership since 2013, this iconic place embodies New York’s cocktail culture without any gimmicks or a fake attitude. Toby Cecchini and his business partner Joel Tompkins had a clear vision when they took over the bar seven years ago: On the one hand honoring The Long Island Bar’s rich history and that of the surrounding neighborhood – Cobble Hill was once a popular destination for sailors with endless bars, brothels and diners – on the other hand nothing short of establishing the perfect neighborhood bar. From over perspective, Toby and Joel definitely achieved both goals with their concept of a revitalized classic bar program. The illuminated neon signs on the façade will guide you directly to a place where knowledgeable bartenders serve great, timeless drinks like an Old Fashioned, a Boulevardier or a Gimlet. As Toby told us, he will never remove eitherof those classics from the menu. In the end, all of them are irreplaceable parts of the bar’s DNA. You can almost feel the so-called “good old times” in every detail of the interior. From the walls and their real patina to the cozy booths, all the small pieces fit together creating a highly authentic journey through time and bar history. And even though this is a bar guide, we have to mention their famous burger. You get the deal right?

Bar Guide NYC New York-23 Bar Guide NYC New York-18 Bar Guide NYC New York-17 Bar Guide NYC New York-19 Bar Guide NYC New York-25

Sweet Afton (Astoria)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-26

A New York bar guide wouldn‘t be complete without all the great neighborhood joints from all across this big and beautiful city. As already pointed out in our latest food guide, we highly encourage you to explore the places off the beaten track. Go to the different neighborhoods and ask the locals about their favorite places! We’re pretty sure that if you go to Astoria – which is easily accessible by the N- and W-trains – many will tell you to check out Sweet Afton on 34th Street. This place just celebrated its “10 sweet years” in business. Apparently these guys must do something damn right! Owned by the same people as The Bonnie bar (feel free to check our food guide) Sweet Afton fortunately sticks to the same friendly neighborhood vibes. It’s also a hybrid between a laid-back bar and a casual restaurant very similar to the above-mentioned The Bonnie. Besides cocktails you can also choose between many different craft beers from local breweries and a mouth-watering food menu including their famous “Sweet Afton Burger”. For their 10-year-anniversary the bar’s interior got a complete redesign by Wes Anderson’s set decorator Kris Moran. The results of his work are present all over the place (we won’t spoil the fun). Sweet Afton’s bar director Cory Miller runs an eclectic bar program with some seasonal inspiration and many dearly-beloved classics. During our visit we found drinks like a “Winter Sangria” or the Whiskey-based “Sweater Weather” on the menu. The pictured “She’s the One” made with hibiscus-infused vodka and pisco is a crowd-pleaser, Cory told us. Get one and you will know why! Sweet Afton is not only worth a trip to Astoria, it’s also worth making a return.

Bar Guide NYC New York-33 Bar Guide NYC New York-32 Bar Guide NYC New York-29 Bar Guide NYC New York-30 Bar Guide NYC New York-31 Bar Guide NYC New York-28

Bar Pisellino (West Village)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-39

The place for “La dolce vita” in NYC is obviously not the tourist trap called Little Italy. Instead you can experience authentic Italian vibes in a relatively small area located between the West Village and Washington Square Park. While we already picked the one-of-a-kind Dante for our first NYC bar guide, there’s by now another charming café/aperitivo bar in that area. Just a stone’s throw away from Christopher Park with the famous Stonewall monument, Bar Pisellino awaits all aficionados of Italian deliciousness. The instant success of that quite recently opened corner spot comes as no surprise. The co-owners Rita Sodi and Jody Williams were already making big waves as two award-winning chefs with their restaurants “I Sodi”, “Buvette” and “Via Carota” (all located in the West Village). Bar Pisellino is their take on a classic Italian bar. Open from early mornings serving espresso and other coffee specialties to late evenings offering different wines, aperitivi and classic cocktails this place seems always busy but never in a rush. When the weather is good, people line up on the sidewalk with Bar Pisellino’s aperitivo drinks and small bites (don’t blame us for getting hooked on the panini and bombolini). But not only their food is a celebration of the real Italy, the same can be said about Bar Pisellino’s cocktails – most of them using vermouth or amari – overseen by Ex-Dante bartender Stacey Swenson. Hence there are not many bars in NYC where you will find a better Martini – smooth, rich, highly satisfying. But of course all drinks that the bar teamwill send over Pisellino’s beautiful curved marble counter match the highest standards in mixology. Even Italians will agree.

Bar Guide NYC New York-37 Bar Guide NYC New York-40 Bar Guide NYC New York-36 Bar Guide NYC New York-34 Bar Guide NYC New York-42 Bar Guide NYC New York-41

Attaboy (Lower East Side)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-45

Some people need no introduction. Everyone who is familiar with NYC’s history of craft cocktails will stumble across the names of Michael McIlroy and Sam Ross sooner or later. These two guys are living legends, both having worked with Sasha Petraske at Milk & Honey back in the day. After this cathedral of modern drinking closed its doors, Michael and Sam took over the old Milk & Honey space on Eldridge Street. It was the hour of birth for their own “baby” Attaboy that promptly became their next success story. As a guest you immediately sense you are in for an extraordinary cocktail experience. First of all there, is no menu. Instead, Attaboy’s experienced bartenders will involve you in a little Q&A sessiontrying to figure out your personal taste when it comes to cocktails. As this might sound a little intimidating especially for cocktail newbies, let’s make clear that this in fact not the case. Everyone is welcome at Attaboy, just be prepared to wait in line for one of the few seats in this really tiny, intimate space that gets quite busy every night – 7 days a week. If you can manage it, come here early on a weekday or put your name on the waiting list. They operate on a first come, first served policy and therefore don’t take reservations. In our opinion Attaboy’s superb drinks and their unique approach to hospitality are worth almost every wait. We met Michael on a sunny afternoon at Attaboy. In daylight the bar looks completely different. When night falls, Attaboy’s speakeasy vibes take over the venue, transforming it into a truly magical, low-lit spot with reams of small candles and first-rate spirits. Make sure to also check out Michael’s and Sam’s new casual hangout Diamond Reef in Brooklyn. It might be as popular as Attaboy some day.

Bar Guide NYC New York-44 Bar Guide NYC New York-43

Nitecap (Lower East Side)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-47

Only a few places sweep us off our feet. This marvelous kitschy bar tucked away in a basement on the Lower East Side that recently celebrated its 6th anniversary definitely falls in this category. Nitecap is at the same time a playful neighborhood joint and a “serious” bar with an ambitious cocktail program. Don’t let the colorful, highly imaginative menu fool you! Every edition comes up with new surprises and inventive drinks. Starting with aperitifs, continuing with more boozy drinks (hence the name “firewater”) and some so called “gulpable thirst quenchers” and a final selection of “nitecaps” their craft cocktails will probably please all kinds of barflies. But Nitecap’s owner Natasha David – formerly of Williamsburg’s well-known oyster bar “Maison Premiere” – understands that people are not only thirsty for a good drink. Therefore the crew at Nitecap places the same emphasis on the overall experience, which includes an “everyone is welcome” mindset and a quirky atmosphere. Obviously this intimate, LGBTQ-friendly bar doesn’t take itself too seriously – another great plus. With all the blinking lights and the intentionally trashy décor Nitecap has established its own style. Guests, who are called “nitecappers”, can experience chilled vibes during the week and a party attitude at the weekends. The cozy interior as well as the signature drinks by head bartender Ari Daskauskas share the same attention to detail. While there are unfortunately too many pretenders out there, it’s good to know the real ones.After six years in business Nitecap has earned its status as one of NYC’s best neighborhood bars. We always leave this bar with a smile and the craving to coming back.

Bar Guide NYC New York-46 Bar Guide NYC New York-50 Bar Guide NYC New York-49 Bar Guide NYC New York-48

Black Emperor Bar (East Village)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-52

The ever-changing East Village is home to an endless number of bars, restaurants, clubs and cafés. It’s probably one of the toughest places to successfully run a bar in the long term. Having this in mindyou have to give kudos to award-winning bartender Ben Rojo, whose name was previously associated with the legendary East Village speakeasy Angel’s Share (go there, have a drink or two and send some greetings to barchef Takuma from us). Now Ben is managing partner of a relatively new Japanese-style place on 2nd Avenue. It’s called Black Emperor Bar. This cozy joint has an authentic dive feel to it, playing with East Asian influences and a charming neighborhood vibe. You can watch old Japanese black-and-white-movies while sipping a cold beer, a traditional sake or one of their house cocktails. The refreshing “Toki Highball” made with Japanese whiskey of the same name (it’s a mild blend of different Suntory whiskeys) is always a safe and highly satisfying choice. For a hot summer night we recommend the “Deer Hunter”, a frozen slushy-style drink with tequila. The unpretentious drinks are a reflection of the fun we had. It’s almost unthinkable not to enjoy your time here. Ben’s dive-like bar is also well-known for its diversified food pop-ups with some really great restaurants from all over the Village. Just recently they teamed up with the guys from celebrated wine bar Ruffian and Kindred, two critic’s darlings in that area. Serving mouth-watering bar food like burgers and chicken wings with an Asian twist their combo of drinks and food comes close to the perfect culinary match. We can only give you one advice: Hang out at the bar, soak up the atmosphere and experience East Village’s hospitality.

Bar Guide NYC New York-54 Bar Guide NYC New York-59 Bar Guide NYC New York-60 Bar Guide NYC New York-57 Bar Guide NYC New York-55

Mister Paradise (East Village)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-61

From Black Emperor you can get to our next destination Mister Paradise within walking distance. And even though both bars are only separated by some blocks, each one represents a different world of mixology. Based on a highly playful take on a modern and accessible cocktail bar – you might consider it their common ground – they went in completely different directions. While Black Emperor is more of a dive spot with fun drinks and excellent food pop-ups, Mister Paradise feels more fancy and elaborated. We love ´em both! Mister Paradise adds an upscale vibe to East Village’s cocktail culture. At the same time those guys manage to incorporate the authenticity of the neighborhood into their truly unique concept. But wait! Who are “those guys”? It turns out that Mister Paradise is run by some very familiar names. Barchef and co-founder Will Wyatt once worked at world famous NoMad bar. His business partner Eric Kruvant is associated with another East Village spot called Drexler’s. At Mister Paradise they successfully combine an ámbitious bar program with a very casual attitude (patrons are welcomed by the slogan “probably the best cocktails”). Irony is part of that game. The place itself looks beautiful as every piece of the puzzle falls in place. From the Art Déco styled bar to the inviting big leather booths and the more than slightly odd images Will and Eric know how to create something new and modern. There is a very special private back room adorned in screaming red with a boxing kangaroo pic on the wall that teleports you into a different dimension. All the cocktails we had kept up with the sophisticated interior. The “Party Lobster” became their hot seller. Made with tequila, mezcal, Campari, watermelon, fermented habanero (!), lime and garlic it will definitely surprise you. As a cocktail lover make sure to add Mister Paradise to your friends list!

Bar Guide NYC New York-64 Bar Guide NYC New York-67 Bar Guide NYC New York-66 Bar Guide NYC New York-65 Bar Guide NYC New York-62 Bar Guide NYC New York-63

The Raines Law Room (Chelsea)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-68

We are suckers for great speakeasies that handle things not only as cheap gimmicks. Either you approach such a concept with seriousness and an eye for every detail or you better stop thinking about running a speakeasy joint altogether. But don’t worry! We will guide you to the right places. This is definitely one of them. Upon entering The Raines Law Room flagship in Chelsea (there’s a second location at The William hotel) you will be teleported into another dimension. Leaving NYC’s bustle and hustle at the doorstep this place puts all emphasis on the perfect ambience for real cocktail connoisseurs. It’s the elegant, fancy version of the twilight zone. Established over 10 years ago it became a blueprint for successful speakeasies. Bar director Meaghan Dorman, who once studied at legendary Milk & Honey, joined forces with a team of experienced restaurateurs to create an almost timeless speakeasy. While this idea seemed quite new back in 2009, many copycats with a similar strategy have emerged over the years. The Raines Law Room’s recipe of success relies on the overall experience. It’s the combination of a deliberate venue with a lounge-like layout, a classy environment and an excellent cocktail menu with seasonal entries and time-honored classics. Technically, there is no bar to hang out. Instead you will be seated on plush leather sofas separated by airy curtains. The dimly lit space feels intimate and elegant. It looks completely unremarkable from the street level – hence true speakeasy style. The beautiful interior matches Meaghan’s cocktails that are partly inspired by the seasons, by classic drinks like the Manhattan (that section is called “New York State of Mind”) or are simply spirit-forward (“Stirred & Strong”). And don’t forget the “What we’re drinking” section with the staff favorites. As this place has become so popular, we highly recommend to show up early – especially on a busy Friday and Saturday night. Don’t be afraid to wait, The Raines Law Room is worth it.

Bar Guide NYC New York-74 Bar Guide NYC New York-70 Bar Guide NYC New York-72 Bar Guide NYC New York-71

Amor y Amargo (East Village)

 

Bar Guide NYC New York-78

More and more bars find their own small niche. But in order to thrive and prosper it takes some guts and courage at the beginning. Without any doubt Sother Teague – one of New York’s most charismatic figures within the bar industry, a bartender/author/podcaster/brand ambassador – is a man on a mission. He loves bitters and bitter-based drinks. Therefore he opened Amor y Amargo back in 2011 as a hideaway for all bitter connoisseurs. Located next to the utterly famous Death & Co. Sother’s tiny bar welcomes you with open arms. The limited space seats only about 10 to 12 guests with some additional standing room. Just recently, a spin-off opened in Williamsburg that follows in Amor y Amargo’s footsteps. While we still have to check out this new venue, we’re pretty sure that Sother will ensure the same high standards for his Williamsburg patrons. With all the different amaro brands from around the world impressively lined up on the shelves we recommend a tasting especially for those who might not be so familiar with the more complex flavors. Sother and his team love to share their passion and wisdom with every guest looking for  some education. There are no juices or other sweet fillers on the menu. Instead you are encouraged to start with the lighter, more easy-drinking cocktails and finish with the stronger ones like their very own “8 Amaro Sazerac”. The “Sharpie Moustache” is not only an Instagram darling (thanks to the presentation) but also a perfect example of Amor y Amargo’s straight-forward philosophy. Accurately described as a “bitters tasting room” Sother’s vision goes way beyond the traditional cocktail bar. He’s the best teacher we can think of!

Bar Guide NYC New York-79 Bar Guide NYC New York-81 Bar Guide NYC New York-80 Bar Guide NYC New York-75 Bar Guide NYC New York-76

****

In case you’re still thirsty at this point, make sure to also check out part 1 with more of our favorite neighborhood bars and speakeasies. Meet the great men and women who define New York’s cocktail culture today.

 

Can you carry my drink, I have everything else
I can tie my tie all by myself
I’m getting tied, I’m forgetting why

– The National, Apartment Story

Welcome to Cologne! This is our hometown as you might know. Therefore we’re a little biased when someone asks us if the city is worth a trip. Although we have to admit that many parts of Cologne can be pretty ugly, there are some very special places. In this guide we like to shed a light on our favorite cocktail bars – some quite new, some old and well established. In any case we can’t praise enough the participating bars for their hospitality and almost endless hours of serious drinking. While there’s nothing wrong with a Kölsch or a glass of wine, we put this list together for all the barflys and boozehounds out there. Let’s have a drink or two or…

Bar Guide Cologne

 ****

Rosebud (Kwatier Latäng)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

If you want to learn more about Cologne’s steady rise within the German cocktail industry during the last two decades, you will probably stumble upon a place called Rosebud. Although the bar situated in the heart of the lively Kwartier Latäng has been around for quiet a long time, the new owners Alex „Finchi“ Schneeweiß and Philipp Hainke succesfully revitalised Rosebud’s legacy and transformed a little outdated spot into a cozy neigborhood bar. The well-thought-out facelift started with a new neon logo and a beautifully restored backyard for summer evenings and concluded with a completely new cocktail menu. Alex and Philipp are not only very knowledgeable entrepeneurs and barchefs, first and foremost they know the basic rules in hospitality. So even it’s your first visit, you will immediately be treated like a regular. They rely more on the idea of a community than on usual bar-guest-relationships. Hence „So jung kommen wir nicht mehr zusammen“ (please use Google Translator, we don’t wanna do the work for you) is their always visible tagline, referring to having a good time with friends and strangers. Surrounded by many happy hour drinking holes and traditional Kölsch pubs Rosebud’s cocktails clearly stand out from the at best mediocre drinks in that area. As Alex told us, they put a big emphasis on high-quality ingredients and timeless mixology. That’s why their different highballs are as satisfying as an Old Fashioned – probably the father of all classic bar drinks. If you are more the indecisive type, you just tell Philipp and his colleagues what kind of spirits you prefer. They will do the rest and surprise you with a well-balanced drink. And while you’re sipping your cocktail, you will slowly but surely get into a serious relationship with this bar that is so unpretentious and charming. In the end you don’t need to be like Charles Foster Kane, to create your own Rosebud memories.

Corona-Update: You can support the Rosebud x Thekenfreunde crew with a donation on their Startnext site. Every Euro makes a difference!Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

 

Little Link (Belgisches Viertel)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

We tend to pigeonhole people when we meet someone for the first time. The same thing can be said about bars. „Oh this must be a dive bar!“, „This looks like a date spot“ and so on. But sometimes the first impression can be misleading. If you come to Little Link, you won’t probably realize their highly innovative approach to mixology. Instead these guys mask themselves as your friendly neighborhood joint. The bar itself feels homely and down-to-earth. Besides the counter there are some tables in the back, a small lounge with Little Link’s logo transformed into a table and a huge selection of high-quality spirits. When it comes to their drink menu, it’s time for the first of many surprises. The menu resembles a colourful children’s book with different chapters like „Botania“, „United Gindom“, „Volcanic Empire“ or „Toyland“ with the pictured „Cinema Cocktail“ that is made of popcorn (!) Bourbon. This drink comes with a side of popcorn (what else?), wrapped up in a paper bag like the one you get at a movie theater. The „Voodoo Mate“ from the tiki section is an extremely flavourful rum drink with a secret „voodoo essence“. Or what about a cocktail that uses rum and refreshing lime flavours with a subtle hint of bell pepper? Their „Krua Affair“ is an interesting Daiquiri modification. Most of their avantgarde-cocktails are brainchilds of Little Link’s owner Stephan Hinz and his barchef Lars Holzem. Link – a multiple-awarded bar expert and Germany’s „Bartender of the year“ in 2017/18 – is well-known for his adventurous use of culinary techniques and unusual ingredients like salmon or mushrooms. In the barlab downstairs he uses dehydrators, a rotary evaporator and sous-vide techniques just to name a few. Some things work pushing back the boundaries and creating exciting new flavours, while other ideas will be quickly dismissed. If you are more the old fashioned type, you don’t need to be scared right now. Lars and his team are happy to serve you all the great classics. At Little Link the variety of elaborate cocktail art is almost endless.

Corona-Update: Little Link is now offering different cocktails „to go“, directly sold from their bar window. For most parts of Cologne there is also a delivery option (check their website). And you can buy vouchers as a gift for your cocktail friends.Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

 

Woods (Friesenviertel)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

Once upon a time there was a boy with a big dream. His name was Simon Bach and his dream was to run his own bar. But wait! As some dreams come true, so does Simon’s personal fairy tale. Just in the middle of Cologne’s notorious Friesenviertel he found the perfect place for his ambitious bar project. The Woods is obviously different. Not only in comparison with the surrounding area that usually attracts a loud party crowd but also in comparison with other high-class bars. This little hideaway exits for serious drinking in a familiar and cozy atmosphere. The name is self-explanatory. Intuitively the vibe of Simon’s bar resembles an outpost in the woods. Thanks to the eye-catching ceiling and back board made of high-quality oak timber the look of the bar is rather unique. Perhaps you might compare it to Barcelona’s Paradiso – a member of the sometimes questionable „World’s 50 Best Bars“ club. Both places share a passion for signature drinks and story telling. Simon, whose love for mixology was evoked while working in Cologne’s Ona Mor bar, created a bar menu recalling memories of a tradtional fairy tale book with a wooden cover, little illustrations and a short story for every drink. All those signature drinks made of carefully selected ingredients get the same attention. Simon’s approach to cocktails – his handwriting if you want to go on with the book references – becomes apparent with every single page. He likes to create well-balanced flavours and variations of beloved classics like an Old Fashioned. The latter is appropriately called „Es war einmal…“ („Once upon a time…“) and made of Bourbon. What’s rather uncommon is the addition of Tequila and the sweetening with Earl Grey. But Simon loves all of his „children“. Hence the sometimes neglected non-alcoholic cocktails are just as appealing. „Der Fuchs“ (the fox) combines Crodino – a non-alcoholic aperitif from Italy – with cranberries for a bitter-sweet aroma profile. At a time when everyone is talking about sustainability, it’s worthy of mention that you don’t find any plastic straws or other disposable products at Woods. Instead Simon’s small, homely bar promotes drinking with an attitude.

Corona-Update: Simon is doing YouTube videos and tutorials that dig deeper into their current bar menu. In a cooperation with dringeblieben Simon hosts live cocktail classes from his bar. For those of you, who want to recreate his drinks at home, you can buy a cocktail box with all the ingredients

 

Rubinrot (Ehrenfeld)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

Ehrenfeld is one of Cologne’s most multicultural quarters or „Veedels“ as we say here. People from all around the world are based in this neighborhood, many students, young families but also people, who lived their whole life in this part of the city. While gentrification is certain on the rise, Ehrenfeld has managed to keep its distinctive identity. Fortunately places like Rubinrot still exist, while others – we think of the legendary music club Underground – have sadly vanished during the last years.  Rubinrot is not a typical cocktail bar or perhaps it’s the Ehrenfeld version of a bar. Micha Esperester who re-opened the place back in 2005 with a friend and Tom Jakschas who was responsible for the beverage program until 2018, prefer the term „Veedelskneipe“. We are not sure how to translate this properly, because this is neither a pub as they make unique cocktails with high-quality spirits nor a dive bar (probably something in between). No matter how you called it, you will succumb to Rubinrot’s unpretentious vibes. A bowling alley in their basement still captures the magic of the old Ehrenfeld. Compared to all the fancy bars with their polished social media accounts, Tom created the perfect detox. He doesn’t care about eye-catching garnishes or other gimmicks. To him and Micha – a former employee of the above-mentioned Underground – Rubinrot is a bar for locals and for everyone, who wants to have a good time. If you love rock music or oldschool hip-hop, this bar could become your second home. Even though it’s totally fine to order some Kölsch and a shot, you will probably be surprised to spot some good agave spirits. When it comes to cocktails, their menu is not without ambition. The tempting „Prinz of Ehrenfeld“ is a Rubinrot staple. It’s sweet, fruity and tastes like liquid passion fruit ice cream. This drink among others will always be on the menu, Tom admits with a smile while making us a Bourbon-based Old Fashioned. Nothing beats a classic! What can be said about a fine whiskey drink, may also be the case with Rubinrot itself.Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

 

Monkey Bar (Friesenviertel)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

Monkey see, monkey do. That old saying is printed on the colorful cocktail menu at Monkey Bar – the only rooftop bar in this guide. It shows the playful attitude of this fortunately very atypical hotel bar. Located on the 8th floor of the sleek and incredibly stylish 25hours Hotel „The Circle“ the bar offers first of all a truly breathtaking view above Cologne. Sip your cocktail while watching the sunset or just enjoy Cologne’s famous skyline with a refreshing highball next to you. During the wintertime it gets cozy inside thanks to a warming fireplace and a pleasing to the eye lounge design. But as we usually prefer the seats at the bar, we leave the lounge over for those who need more space. While there is also plenty of space at the bar, the beverage selection itself is comparatively small with a clear focus on premium spirits. We can spot a bottle of Monkey Shoulder whisky – no surprise given the name – Rutte Gin and a good selection of unsweetened Rum. For Cologne’s Monkey Bar (there’s also a Monkey Bar in Berlin’s 25hours Hotel) they took real classics like a Piña Colada (called „Kölle Kolada“) or a Negroni („Dä Aap-Nägroni“) made with Sünner Gin and adapted them to the neigborhood. If you get the reference to Cologne’s cult boxer Peter „Dä Aap“ Müller or to famous chimp Petermann from the Kölner Zoo, you can’t help but smile. Watch out for their mural next to the bar entrance! The Pink Pisco seems like the perfect start into the evening, light, a little sweet and very refreshing. Of course that can be said about some other cocktails like the pictured Basil Highball. You will also find drinks from other bars on the menu. Instead of a simple copy they are more of an homage. As a guest you don’t get that often anonymous „hotel bar feeling“ here. Even many locals love that bright, airy space. It’s probably Monkey Bar’s biggest achievement and a reason to return once in a while.Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

 

Spirits (Kwatier Latäng)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

For those who want to dig a little deeper into Cologne’s modern bar culture that seriously started in the early 1990s – apart from that we were always a typical German city of pubs and breweries – this beautiful bar will cross your paths sooner or later. Established in 1999 and under the current ownership for more than a decade Cologne’s Spirits is a staple of craft cocktails. Beyond that it became something like a on-the-job training for many of today’s high-class mixologists – some of them like Indika Silva now running successfully their own bar. Therefore you can’t overestimate Spirits as a creative hub for Cologne’s thriving bar landscape. The heart and soul of this classic American bar are the three Domini(que)ks (Scheu, Mohr and owner Dominique Simon). As a team they are responsible for maintaining Spirits lead among German bars. Together they collected multiple awards and honorable mentions during the last years. After the first round of drinks you will definitely realize their craftsmanship and creativity. This doesn’t come as a surprise. Combining home-made batches and natural flavours with a selection of premium spirits is a winning formula when done right. There can’t be two opinions on that point. As the three Domini(que)ks share a tremendous experience behind the bar, this place is a safe refuge for all of Cologne’s cocktail connoisseurs including us. At no other bar we had more drinks over the years. And while it’s almost impossible to name only one favourite, some signature drinks like the incredible tempting „Sexy Elevator RMX“ (made with cream) are already worth a visit. Don’t panic if you can’t spot this womanzier on their current menu. It’s a Spirits classic that will always be available, just ask! The „Tricolore“ will surprise you with a very unique presentation and some complex Negroni-like flavours. While the focus is on the drinks, the Spirits crew will also embrace you with their hospitality. On friday and saturday nights various DJs spin oldschool hip-hop, electro and funk music. As the small bar gets quite packed on those nights we recommend to come around early and stay till late. The claim „good times only“ could be a Spirits original.

Corona-Update: Together with Suderman the Spirits crew will start a delivery service called „Soul 2 Soul“ for a selection of their signature cocktails. You can also grab up your favorite drink by yourself at the bar as a „to go“ option. Besides that they already hosted a first online tasting event with more to follow!

Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne-46 Bar Guide Cologne-44 Bar Guide Cologne-45 Bar Guide Cologne-42

 

Toddy Tapper (Agnesviertel)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

Cologne’s bar landscape is clearly on the rise. Many creative bar chefs and bartenders – old and new – have contributed to this pleasent development. Indika Silva is one of them. The experienced bartender, who has built a reputation way beyond Cologne, opened his first own bar Toddy Tapper back in 2016 after different positions in the hospitality industry. For many years he worked at above-mentioned Spirits bar. With Toddy Tapper he was finally able to translate his well-thought-out ideas about a friendly neighborhood bar into reality. The name itself is a nod to Indika’s Sri Lankan home, where a „tapper“ is someone, who climbs palm trees to gather palm nectar. Arrack – you might call this brandy the national spirit of Sri Lanka – is made of fermented palm nectar. The latter is usually called „toddy“ hence the name of the bar that quickly became a favourite not only among locals. Toddy Tapper’s success is the result of dedication, distinctive cocktails, a great team and even greater hospitality. Indika together with his team created a feel-good-spot in earthy tones, a hybrid between a classic bar and a cozy lounge, where every little piece fits into the bigger picture. The result is quintessentially Indika, we suppose. Exotic, warm-hearted, simply inviting. While some of todays’s „instagrammable“ bars lack personality and atmosphere, Toddy Tapper develops quite naturally an own persona. Of course the drinks play an important role. Instead of creating two or three signature cocktails Indika created a whole signature menu using exotic flavours and spices (turmeric, cumin, tamarind), spirits like arrack and a lot of soul. The pictured „Ceylon Mule“ made of arrack, palm sugar and some yuzu is Indika’s take on a refreshing highball. You can’t leave without having at least one. Every drink gets its own unique presentation. Their Old Fashioned variation „Périgord Paradox“ perfectly balances the strong notes of Single Malt whisky with the sweetness of caramelized walnuts. Don’t ask us about our favourite cocktail, because they are all damn good! If you are unable to decide by yourself, just leave the decision up to Indika and his colleagues. Perhaps they will surprise you with the absolutely delicious „Land of Gold“ (gin, yuzu, papaya, citrus, siam spices). At Toddy Tapper you can travel the whole world during one night.

Corona-Update: Every Thursday to Saturday Toddy Tapper is offering cocktails to-go. Besides drinks from their current menu there are also new creations to discover.Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

 

Suderman (Agnesviertel)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

This bar in Cologne’s trendy Agnesviertel is a one-of-a-kind. It’s neither just another bar that manages to do tasteful craft cocktails nor a classic neighborhood joint. It’s both actually! Opened back in 2015 the very charming Suderman quickly established itself as a laid-back place for creative drinking, party vibes (DJ’s playing fine tunes on the weekends) and good conversations between neighbors, locals and people from out of town. They all drink what they like whether it’s a classic cocktail, one of Suderman’s signature drinks from a rotating menu or a simple beer with a shot. The latter is called “Herrengedeck” and available in various combos – the pictured Pilsener with an aquavit/herb liqueur among them. The location right next to the eponymous Sudermanplatz might be familiar to some. Back in the days it was home to Cologne’s cult spot Bar Orange. Fortunately the two Suderman owners Felix Engels and Dominique Simon, who already joined forces at Spirits for many years, aren’t lazy copycats. Instead they followed their own ideas and transformed the place into a chic Veedelsbar with an inviting lounge area. Needless to say that we always prefer a seat at the bar. The sleek and yet snuggish interior is a mix of concrete, wood, brass and leather. Felix and his highly skilled barteam work their mixology art in this remarkable stylish venue. We met bartender Katrin Löcher and her very own creation. The gin-based Flora Highball is a true crowd pleaser at Suderman and we can easily imagine why. It’s a light, refreshing and visually pleasing drink – perfect not only for hot summer nights. The drink menu is divided into different chapters starting with rather light aperitifo drinks, a rotating seasonal selection, some mocktails and finally playful Suderman creations called “Miljö” (it’s Cologne slang, we won’t reveal the meaning). From this section Katrin made us the rich and fruity “Schwester Agnes” with rum, berries, some fresh lime and a dazzling cola-woodruff foam. Garnished with a plum the puristic “Mehr soag I net” is a herbal, boozy and absolutely delicious sour. At Suderman there’s no judging. Whether you are in a mood for a cocktail, a beer, a wine or just a lemonade, every guest will be treated with the same attention and hospitality. What’s not to love about a bar with such an ethos?

Corona-Update: In a collaborative effort with their sister bar Spirits the Suderman crew will be offering a cocktail delivery service called „Soul 2 Soul“ in the very near future. If you live in the area, you can also pick up your favorite drink at the bar as a „cocktail to go“.Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

 

The Grid (Friesenviertel)

 

Bar Guide Cologne

The recent transition of Cologne’s Friesenstraße – once a brute party hotspot, nowadays a much more civilized place with still vivid party vibes – can be traced back to many factors. One piece of the puzzle might be the appearance of new cocktail bars like Woods and The Grid. The latter is run by Marian Krause, a very prominent figure not only in Germany’s bar community. Awards like “Newcomer of the year” and “World Class Bartender of the Year” suddenly put him into an international spotlight. With The Grid he was able to implement his own vision of a classy, yet approachable cocktail establishment. Actually this kind of speakeasy is more than a bar. While the big counter made of amber is definitely an eye-catcher and the golden ceiling makes the spot look even more special, a heated patio with an exclusive cigar lounge and a small dance floor set the bar apart from most other places in this guide. The ambitious cocktail menu titled “Portraits” introduces personalities from different genres like Canadian-born musician Chilly Gonzalez, perfumer Uwe Manasse or photographer Torben Köster and correspondent drinks. If you like strong, rum-based cocktails, be a little adventurous and go for the “Aphrodisiac”. We won’t spoil all the fun, but here the veil herb is more than only decoration. Filled up with champagne the “Lens Flair” quickly became a real crowd-pleaser. Thanks to some refreshing citrus notes this is the perfect summer drink. Like egg white drinks? Like whisky? We recommend “No Reservations” that takes you off the beaten track with its whisky sour variation. As a host Marian takes good care of every guest not only by sharing his knowledge but also by telling some more than interesting stories. This might also be a reason why The Grid already left a lasting impression on many barflies from in and out of town.

Corona-Update: As The Grid also had to close its door due to the Covid-19 situation, Marian decided to offer some bottled cocktails like the „Korona Killa“ available through their online shop. For Cologne residents there is also an option for same day delivery to your front door.Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne Bar Guide Cologne

When we think of New York, we think of places like NoMad, Pegu Club, Dead Rabbit, Death & Co. or Milk & Honey. As you’ve obviously found this guide on our blog, you may also be familiar with some or all of these names that have been representing New York’s cocktail and bar culture over the last twenty years. They are all legends on their own. Some have closed unfortunately; some have changed, and some continue to thrive until today. And many great bartenders have earned their skills at one of those bars. You can actually trace back many careers to only a handful of places – even in such a big city. To us, NYC’s diverse and top notch bar landscape seems almost unbeatable, only maybe London can compete. We would like to introduce you to some of our favorite bars and bartenders in this guide. And because there are so many, we will have a second edition coming up for you! Just a little recommendation from us: Don’t be fooled by all the popular bar rankings. As much as we love those lists, they are not always reliable. If you stick strictly to a „Best of“ ranking, you will probably miss NYC’s best bars or get lost in a tourist trap. We want to save you from both! Enough of boring talk, let’s drink (responsibly)!

 

Bar Guide New York

Baby remember, I’m not drinking wine
But that cherry coke you serve is fine
And our love’s sweet enough on the vine


– Lana Del Rey, Bartender

 

****

Banzarbar (Freeman Alley)

 

Bar Guide New York

For a great brunch on the Lower East Side we always opt for places like Freemans that has become a true staple not only for brunch lovers. While the restaurant itself doesn’t need an introduction (we included it in our food guide nevertheless), it is also home to a treasured secret called the Banzarbar. Tucked away on the second floor of Freemans Restaurant, this gem of a cocktail bar offers a very small and cozy space (only 20 seats, so reservations are highly encouraged) that seems to be the perfect retreat for an intimate date on a cold winter night. As soon as you enter the bar you feel like worlds away from the buzzing streets of New York. The elaborate decor will transport you immediately into the world of early 20th century explorers and sailors. The high-class bar program was curated by Eryn Reece, whose love for cocktails brought her once from her West Coast home in Portland to NYC. After being promoted as the Head Bartender of Death & Co. – an NYC classic that shaped the city’s landscape during the last ten years – she is now responsible for Banzarbar’s unique creations that embrace nice twists on classics as well as more fruity and spicy tiki drinks. Martini lovers should definitely order the „Moonraker Sail“ made with shouchu and blanc vermouth. If you’re more in a tiki mood, then go for the „Shackleton’s Urn“ that mixes gin with rum and different spices like cinnamon and green chili. This drink is limited to „2 per traveler“ as it can knock out even the toughest sailor. Finally, Banazarbar can offer a five-course low ABV tasting menu (95 Dollar per person) with seafood centric dishes matching the bar’s nautical theme. We definitely need to be back for this pairing of great food and drinks!

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Patent Pending (49 West 27th Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

What’s the link between Nikola Tesla and bar culture? We must confess that we weren’t able to give an answer before visiting Patent Pending near Madison Square Park (and around the corner of legendary NoMad bar). While the café in the front is busy during the daytime, it’s of course the back room that drew us here. Or if you want to be more accurate, we were guided by a popular navigation system. Today’s technologies like GPS and even Wi-Fi can be traced back to Tesla’s ground-breaking work more than a century ago. It’s more than a nice anecdote that this small bar is situated in the building in which Tesla lived and performed his experiments on radio waves back in the day. Nods to this work can be found throughout the bar’s classy interior. You just need to raise your head to the endless light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. If you look closely you can spot even more Tesla memorabilia here. We can guarantee that Patent Pending’s unique theme feels neither gimmicky nor false. Instead, you will be treated with great hospitality thanks to Patent Pending’s highly dedicated bar team. The cocktail menu that tends to change with the seasons also pays a playful tribute to Tesla’s work. Therefore, the drinks are called „Electric Healing“ or „Radio Waves“. For a perfect summer drink, we recommend the „Mr. Muir“ made with gin and calvados and some discreet flavors of ginger and gentian. Give it a try even if you are getting tired of the gin craze! With the café in the front it’s not a big surprise that Patent Pending also uses coffee for some drinks. Their Old Fashioned modification „Odd Love“ for example adds a flavorful coffee twist to the beloved classic.

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Bar Goto (245 Eldridge Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

Sometimes it can feel like a struggle to track all of LES’ bar openings and closings. When a place manages to survive in such a competitive landscape for more than a year you can already consider this as a success. Bar Goto on Eldridge Street just turned four and it looks as fresh as on its first day (and it’s here to stay as we would like to add). This quite small and intimate bar is the „child“ of Kenta Goto, who has become one of New York’s most well-known and respected bar chefs. Before he decided to open his own space, Kenta worked many years at legendary Pegu Club in SoHo – a true New York staple with a rich history and also the steppingstone for many of today’s big figures within New York’s bar scene. The bar itself and also the premium drinks are a reflection of Kenta’s personality, his roots and time spent almost equally in Japan and the US. The „Sakura Martini“ is the perfect example of this cultural mix and also a manifestation of Kenta’s approach to craft cocktails. He uses premium sake and gin as the base for his Martini whose taste is as memorable as the cherry blossom garnish. A minimalistic masterpiece! While Kenta likes to add new drinks to his menu from time to time, the „Sakura Matini“ will always be available, he promises. Shochu based drinks are another of Bar Goto’s characteristics. We have to admit that we probably wouldn’t go for the „Koji San“ because of our aversion to celery. But when we tasted this refreshing crowd pleaser, we almost forgot about this fact. On the contrary it’s a great choice to learn more about Bar Goto’s cocktail program that comes with matching Japanese bar food. Small dishes like the spicy miso wings blend typical American bar snacks with Asian influences. The drinks may still be the main reason why you should put Bar Goto on your NYC bucket list, but their Okonomiyaki (savory cabbage pancakes) is another striking argument.

Bar Guide New York

Nice to meet you Kenta! Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Kenta Goto. I’m a Tokyo transplant living in NY for the last 20 years. I’ve been working in the restaurant/bar industry for 15 years. In 2015, I opened my bar, BAR GOTO, in the Lower East Side. I am currently working on opening a second bar in Brooklyn.

What makes your bar unique?

Bar Goto is a hybrid of Japan and New York. It’s not traditional Japanese, but a reflection of my experiences in both places.

Please tell us your favorite spirit and drink!

I’m a big fan of Scotch. I also love Sake and Wine.

What bartender from NYC should we meet next?

There are many to introduce, but definitely Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo. He’s full of knowledge when it comes to good eating and drinking. He’s not only a great host behind the bar, but a great chef, author and radio show host. A busy man!

Any recommendations what to do in NYC?

If this was my first time in New York, I would say watch the sunset from the observatory on top of the Rockefeller Center. Also, just eat and drink your way through the city!

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Dante (79-81 Macdougal Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

There are not many places in NYC with a history like Dante in the Greenwich Village For many years called „Caffe Dante“ this Italian restaurant/bar/café is quintessential NYC. And even though this should be first of all a bar guide, it’s almost impossible to write some lines about Dante without praising their delightful food. Their charcuterie of exquisite Italian sausages is simply to die for, as is their handmade pasta. Also, we highly recommend saving room for Dante’s signature tiramisu. We can guarantee that you will leave this place perfectly happy! Dating back to 1915 Dante (or ex Caffe Dante) embodies the history and changes of the Village. It’s a stroke of luck that the new owners stayed true to Dante’s roots in the community. Over the years this place became a second home for many New Yorkers – both famous and non-famous. Just look at some of the pictures lining the walls to catch a glimpse of Dante’s lively past. Robert Maplethorpe, Bob Dylan, Jerry Seinfeld, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro – they all loved or still love Dante. When it comes to drinks, the new Dante is even more aspiring. Famous for their Negroni variations like the pictured „Negroni Bianco“ or the Garibaldi a classic Aperitivo at Dante is much more than a safe bet. It’s probably the best way to start your night! Even an often neglected drink like the „Grasshopper“ can be an eye-opener, did you know that? Countless bar awards and high rankings – they recently earned the top spot of the „World’s 50 Best Bars“ – are evidence of Dante’s qualities in drinks and craft cocktails. In his own way this is New York’s equivalent of London’s Bar Termini.

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

Devon (252 Broome Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

We are still in love with New York’s ever-changing Lower East Side, mainly because of its diversity. The bar scene is one of them. A very sleek and stylish place called Devon belongs to the newer additions in the neighborhood, now open for about one year. Oliver Zabar, whose family name is familiar one in New York’s restaurant business, wanted to create a neighborhood bar with great food and unique drinks. When it comes to cocktails, he and his head bartender Sean Saunders have definitely achieved that objective (we have to come back for the food, especially for the famous dry-aged burger from Eli’s Night Shift). Saunders created craft cocktails that play with unusual ingredients like mustard (yes, mustard). While we have to admit that we would probably choose a different drink from the menu, the truly special „The Knowable Universe“ is a real eye-opener not only because of its discreet mustard flavor. The combination of cognac, spices, fruits and egg white make a great drink. Saunders apparently likes to think outside the box, which is quite rare in today’s bar landscape, where most people seem to opt for the safest way mostly because of economic restrictions. If your bar is not a success within the first months, it probably won’t be around for very long. But there’s is so much more we love about Devon. The design is modern and homely at the same time. It’s a mix of different elements and styles. The exposed brick walls and the classic terrazzo bar décor set the tone and go astonishingly well with the modern parts of the interior. And there’s of course that special LES vibe that Devon knows how to use it.

Bar Guide New York

Nice to meet you Sean! Could you please introduce yourself?

Sure thing, I’m Sean Saunders, the Head Bartender and General Manager at Devon. I’ve worked in the industry for about twelve years, going on six in the city. My first job was Tooker Alley and then I helped an amazing team open up Happiest Hour and Slowly Shirley where I was lucky to work with many great bartenders from early Pegu Club and Death & Co. era. I’ve worked with Owneys Rum, Cafe Boulud, and Grand Banks, to name a few.

What makes your bar unique?

Our carefully designed space tries to strike a balance between unique, and welcoming. We try to bring some elevated techniques and ingredients into both the food and cocktails and focus heavily on creating a professional and hospitable service. Ultimately, we’re hoping to create a fun, and safe space for everyone to have a great time.

Please tell us your favorite spirit and drink!

I’m definitely a bit of rum nerd. The daiquiri is still, in my opinion, one of the most perfect cocktails.

What bartender from NYC should we meet next?

Brian Grummart from Subject, Sother Teague from Amor y Amaro and Garret Richard from Existing Conditions all have some great insight and advice, amongst many others.

Any recommendations what to do in NYC?

Where to begin? In the summer for a full day nothing beats the Rockaway Ferry. Head up the boardwalk and grab some Arepas or a Burger from Rippers. In the Spring, or Fall hitting up Grand Banks with a sweater will save you from the 2 hours wait times and provide one of the best views in the city. Winter in the city is too easy, hole up anywhere warm with some good food and drinks. I always try to finish a late Friday or Saturday night at Katz, which is open 24 hours during the weekends, and is the non-existent lines are only made better by the experience.

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Undercote (16 West 22nd Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

Neither a typical speakeasy nor a boring restaurant bar, this place does things differently in a very charming and elegant way! Let’s talk a little bit about Undercote in Midtown, where barflies and boozehounds find refuge in a dark basement under a Michelin-rated Korean steakhouse. The latter is called Cote, so the name of the bar is quite self-explanatory. Upon entering, guests are teleported into a different dimension of first-class spirits, creative cocktails and a mysterious rain forest ambiance. The back of the bar looks like a big terrarium with plants, twines and lots of green. There is another dimly lit room with even more green. Overall the bar may be relatively small in size, but if you come around later at night, you should be able to grab a seat. As the associated restaurant upstairs mostly attracts a business clientele, the weekends at Undercote are usually not as busy as the weekdays. Sondre Kasin – a native-born Norwegian, hence the first name – is Undercote’s master of mixology. His bar menu offers playful twists on classics like the Pina Colada as well as more experimental drinks and the immense popular low-ABV cocktails. We also like to mention the Korean bar food that is served at Undercote. But beware – it’s highly addictive! Sondre and his dedicated team treat every guest with an incredible hospitality that we would have rather associated with a small neighborhood joint. In fact, Undercote is the exact opposite of an anonymous restaurant bar. For all mezcal lovers, Sondre created the smoky „Esteban“. It instantly became one of our new favorites. The color-changing „Illusions” poured from a cat-shaped carafe (!) is a visual masterpiece and already an Instagram darling. But despite the visual gimmicks the Gin-based drink will satisfy even those who normally reject all social media hypes. Like Undercote itself, this cocktail will satisfy your eyes and your soul.

Bar Guide New York

Nice to meet you Sondre! Could you please introduce yourself?

Nice to meet you as well! My name is Sondre Kasin and I am the principal bartender at Undercote & Cote Korean Steakhouse in NYC. Originally from Norway I have worked 10 years in the hospitality industry but have only been two years in New York. I was brought onto the team by Simon Kim and Victoria James to run their cocktail program at Cote & Undercote here in New York and I have been with them for almost two years now.

What makes your bar unique?

First off, Undercote feels like a subtropical jungle with live plants and greenery. The plants breathes life into the room and fresh air so every time you walk in to the bar you feel relaxed and calm. I wanted the cocktails to be clean, easy to drink and refreshing. A lot of bars can focus on sugar heavy cocktails, a lot of juices and over the top cocktails. We wanted the opposite so you can a break from the NYC city hustle!

Please tell us your favorite spirit and drink!

Nothing beats the classics: Daiquiri or Negroni is always my two go to cocktails. Favorite spirit must be gin. In cocktails gin shows a huge range from Martini to French 75 and works for all occasions.

What bartender from NYC should we meet next?

You already met a lot of my favorite bartenders. However you should definitely visit Aidan Bowie next time. He is the nicest bartender in New York and also makes amazing drinks!

Any recommendations what to do in NYC?

First of all stay away from the tourist attractions and Times Square! Focus on food, cocktails and wine instead. Take a trip to Chinatown in Flushing and eat dumplings/Chinese food. When you get back to Manhattan do a speakeasy bar round and visit all the classic cocktail bars for Martini´s, Manhattan´s and Penicillins. Finish with Korean food at Cote and cocktails at Undercote!

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Existing Conditions (35 West 8th Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

If you are slightly familiar with New York’s cocktail history of the last ten years, you will probably rather sooner than later stumble upon a place called „Booker and Dax“. That highly innovative cocktail bar/lab at the back of Momofuku was the brainchild and playground of Dave Arnold. After its close in 2016 Arnold shifted his focus to new projects. Together with Don Lee of „Please Don’t Tell“ and Greg Boehm, who also runs rising star „Katana Kitten“ (just wait for our 2nd NYC Bar Guide), he opened Existing Conditions near Washington Square Park in 2018. Staying true to Booker and Dax’s roots in new cocktail techniques and methods of preparation Arnold’s latest bar also aims for that something special. Guests can for example order bottled cocktails from a vending machine in the front. Another feature is not so obvious. As Existing Condition’s head bartender Jack Schramm told us, they carbonate not only the soda/filler but the whole drink including the spirit. Also, they try to use fresh fruits instead of juice for their drinks. It’s safe to say that Existing Conditions aims for a different, more elaborate approach to mixology. At the same time the cocktails are presented in a pure, almost minimalistic way neglecting all fancy gadgets. So, in the end it’s all about the taste and not about the packaging. We love that! Divided into rather unusual categories like „carbonated“, „shaken“ and „stirred up“ the cocktail menu itself reflects this bias to craftmanship and technology. The pictured „Helicopter“ is a bittersweet Norwegian sour made of milk-washed aquavit, Cynar and Aperol. If you’re into sour drinks, then this one is for you! For a hot summer day, we recommend one of the shaved ice cocktails like the „Italian Ice“ made of Byrrh (a French aperitif), Amaro and Aperol. In either case you won’t be disappointed, leaving Existing Conditions in a good condition.

Bar Guide New York

Nice to meet you Jack! Could you please introduce yourself?

I’m the Head Bartender at Existing Conditions, the cocktail bar from Dave Arnold and Don Lee on 8th Street in the West Village. I also run the bar in the Pernod-Ricard USA New York office. Life is all about balance, so when I’m not clarifying juice in a Spinzall or distilling peppers in a rotovap I test drinks with new flavors of Malibu and Kahlua.

What makes your bar unique?

The thing that excites me the most about Existing Conditions is that we manage to execute cocktails with hours of prep and a bedrock in science and technology, but avoid the „laboratory“ trope that can make bars like ours feel clinical. We are a neighborhood bar with lots of regulars both in and outside of the industry that happens to use some tools like centrifuges and liquid nitrogen in pursuit of flavor. The science is there and we are all happy to talk about techniques, but the majority of our guests just enjoys a delicious drink in a warm, inviting space.

Please tell us your favourite spirit and drink!

It’s a tie between Mezcal and Rhum Agricole. I think both of these exhibit terroir, which can be difficult to showcase, especially in aged spirits. Favorite drink is a Daiquiri, preferably with a blend of R(h)ums.

What bartender from NYC should we meet next?

Will Wyatt at Mister Paradise. Will and I worked together for a year at the NoMad, before we both left to start our current projects. His drinks are delicious, his bar is wonderful, and he has a very specific sense of humor that gets me every time. We share an ethos at our bars – incredible cocktails in unpretentious spaces. It’s my favorite bar to drink at right now.

Any recommendations what to do in NYC?

New York is an incredible city to dine and drink in alone. If you find yourself on a solo adventure, make sure to be very kind and not be pushy, but have a conversation with your bartender. We love to send guests back and forth to each other and give up the secrets of the best places and menu items to people that show genuine interest. Make sure to walk as much as possible. There is so much to look at, art, architecture, and especially people watching. Just take the city in and eat and drink as much as possible!

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Reception Bar (45 Orchard Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

In a time when political leaders try to build walls again, it seems more important than ever to take a firm stand against all kind of discrimination and to emphasize the positive aspects of immigration. As an Asian-American woman, Reception Bar’s owner Katie Rue wants to introduce flavors from her Korean heritage to a modern (American) cocktail bar. Therefore soju – a very common spirit in Korea distilled from rice – is the base of many drinks. The different sojus are all infused in-house by Katie and her team, emphasizing the importance of elaborate cocktail techniques for Reception’s ambitious drink menu. For the pictured low-ball, which is called „Smokes“, she uses pine smoked lapsang soju, Korean pear shrub and eucalyptus bitters. It’s one of her signature drinks that keep the promise of a balance between the east and the west. Another outstanding drink is the „Devilwood Bloom“ served in a coupette and made with osmanthus soju. It’s as tasty as visual appealing. The place itself follows a beautiful geometric design with big windows, flowers, and an earthy color palette. Lots of natural light floats the small, intimate bar (Reception’s operating hours start at 1.00 PM with the exception of Monday, when the bar is closed). From a visual standpoint Reception shares more elements with a café than with a traditional bar. The many non-alcoholic choices that Katie calls „elixirs“ would also match that café comparison. Hence Reception may also appeal to those who are not frequent bar visitors. In any case it’s a welcome addition to the LES neighborhood.

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

BlackTail (Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, CLOSED)

 

Bar Guide New York

Dead Rabbit is a one-of-a-kind success story. It became the „World’s Best Bar“ and earned endless awards. For co-founders Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry – two close friends from Belfast, Northern Ireland – the success of the Dead Rabbit was not the end of their ambitions. And so here we are! This ancient Cuban oasis called BlackTail takes you back to a time when Americans left their home to enjoy the good life on an Caribbean island that later should become their archenemy. The prohibition also forced many bartenders to leave the country. Their talent was no longer wanted/needed in the US. With an emphasis on this forgotten part of US history the guys behind BlackTail established an exquisite cocktail menu in a remarkable setting. This bar feels indeed like a time machine. Upon entering you find yourself teleported to pre-communism Havana. There’s often live music that adds even more atmosphere to this wonderful place on the 2nd floor of the Pier A Harbor House. BlackTail’s latest drink menu honors the music history of Cuba and the Cuban passion for rhythm and dance. Divided into five main categories (Highball, Punch, Sour, Old-Fashioned, Cocktail) it’s a really tough choice to limit yourself to just 2 or 3 drinks. We actually recommend staying for the whole night and also taste their delicious bar food. If you love mezcal like we do, the „Spice Tree“ won’t disappoint! But as its name suggests it’s a little spicy thanks to the use of Habanero chili. You will also find all the Cuban classics on the menu from legendary Mojitos to Pina Coladas. We can assure you that BlackTail’s versions have nothing to do with all the shitty, watered down happy hour drinks. This is in fact first-class drinking in a league of its own!

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

 

Ghost Donkey (4 Bleecker Street)

 

Bar Guide New York

What’s the perfect bar to us? It’s probably a place where great hospitality and great drinks come together and where you immediately feel welcome. By that definition, Ghost Donkey in NoHo is very close to perfection. It’s a lively mezcal and tequila joint that celebrates Mexican culture, diversity, friendship and all the good things in life! All these values are incarnated in host Ignacio “Nacho” Jimenez, who is one of New York’s most famous bartenders. If you meet him at Ghost Donkey shaking and stirring, you will realize that he simply loves what he does. You may practice all the basic bartending skills and learn what’s to learn about cocktails, but it’s almost impossible to learn real hospitality. Nacho is the heart and soul of Ghost Donkey that gets quite busy also on weekdays. But a fun place like this has to be a little lively and crowded. When it comes to drinks, Nacho’s Ghost Donkey fam likes to infuse new blood into classic cocktails like a Negroni or a Pina Colada. Their „Mole Negroni“ is made with fat-washed mezcal and that famous Mexican mole adding a spicy twist to the beloved Negroni taste. Another example of Nacho’s genuine take on cocktails is his interpretation of a „Tequila Sunrise“ (look for the „Mezcal Sun-Risa“ on the menu). He uses both mezcal and tequila with some dashes of habanero and hibiscus. Finally, even a simple „Pina Colada“ can still be an eye-opener. You don’t believe us? The Ghost Donkey „Pina Colada“ proves all skeptics wrong. It’s refreshing, not sweet and absolutely delicious! The same could probably be said about their Mexican food. But as we headed somewhere else for dinner that night, we have to come around again for some Nachos and Tacos (and more drinks).

Bar Guide New York

Nice to meet you Nacho! Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Ignacio „Nacho“ Jimenez. I am the Donkey Guru here at Ghost Donkey!

What makes your bar unique?

I think this is our approach to hospitality. We not only see hospitality as a reflection of our service, but as the special atmosphere we are able to achieve with all the different aspects of the bar inlcuding design, music, service, drinks and food. Overall we aim to create a festive atmosphere, where everyone feels welcome.

Please tell us your favourite spirit and drink!

I love all spirits and I believe that there’s a time for everything. That being said I do find myself drinking a lot of mezcal lately but I’m a big fan of Japanese Whiskey, Rum and Cognac. When it comes to cocktails Daiquiris are something that I really enjoy drinking.

What bartender from NYC should we meet next?

Jorsand from Cosme! He is an amazing source of knowledge when it comes to Mezcal. And his attention to detail and friendly attitude will make your next bar visit really special.

Any recommendations what to do in NYC?

I’m in love with Public Records and Night Moves at the moment. Both places have an incredibly design, an amazing sound systems and super cool beverage programs.

Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York Bar Guide New York

****

The Sneakerzimmer NYC Bar Guide Part 2 coming early 2020!

 

Eine Reise nach Stockholm lohnt sich nicht nur, weil es einfach eine wunderschöne Stadt mit vielen interessanten und spannenden Ecken ist. Auch das Essen und die Barszene Stockholms kann so einiges und muss sich nicht vor anderen europäischen Metropolen verstecken. Ganz im Gegenteil. Wir stellen Euch hier unsere Lieblinge vor, die von Soulfood bis Gourmet-Küche für jeden Geschmack etwas anzubieten haben. Und zum Ende nehmen wir Euch mit zu den besten Bars der Stadt. Seid Ihr bereit?

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

****

Breakfast & Cafés

 

Café & Bageri Pascal (verschiedene Locations)

Nicht nur für uns beginnt der Tag erst nach einem guten Kaffee und vielleicht einem dazu passenden Snack. Beides bietet das Café Pascal, das in Stockholm gleich an mehreren Orten zu finden ist. Als Café mit hauseigener Bäckerei sind die süßen Backwaren, Brote und ordentlich belegten Sandwiches hier sehr zu empfehlen. Ganz typisch sind auch die schwedischen „Bulle“, hinter denen sich meist süße, unterschiedlich gefüllte Brötchen/Backwaren verbergen. Das Café ist sowohl bei den Einheimischen als auch bei Touristen sehr beliebt. Wir wissen auch warum. Wer seinen Kaffee gerne in Ruhe genießt, schaut am besten schon am frühen Morgen vorbei. Unter der Woche ist das Café Pascal sogar bereits ab 7 Uhr geöffnet.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Nytorget 6 (Nytorget 6)

Gegenüber des kleinen Nytorget-Parks lässt sich im Restaurant Nytorget 6 in der Woche gut frühstücken und am Wochenende ebenso gut brunchen (ab 11 Uhr). Natürlich bietet das Restaurant etwas später auch eine Mittagskarte und ein Dinner an, wovon wir Euch vor allem das Meatball-Gericht empfehlen können. So leckere und geschmacklich feine Fleischbällchen haben wir noch nirgendwo gegessen. Von den bekannten Meatballs einer schwedischen Baumarktkette sind diese jedenfalls gleich mehrere Lichtjahre entfernt. Doch zurück zum Frühstück, wo sowohl das Omelett mit seiner cremigen Pilzfüllung als auch das hausgemachte Granola absolute Bestnoten verdient haben. Das Nytorget 6 ist zugegeben nicht ganz billig, aber das haben wir auch nie behauptet (gilt übrigens für ganz Stockholm).

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Gast Café (Rådmansgatan 57)

Schon das Logo des Gast Café, ein kleiner Geist, bringt einen irgendwie zum Schmunzeln. In dem gemütlichen Café folgt dann die nächste positive Überraschung. Während so viele Cafés entweder viel zu laut und hektisch sind oder vor Lässigkeit einschlafen, trifft das Gast die genau richtige Mischung aus Instagram-tauglicher Optik und ziemlich leckerem Inhalt. Die Frühstückskarte bietet für jeden Geschmack etwas – von süß bis herzhaft. Man findet das allgegenwärtige Avocado-Toast hier ebenso wie klassisches Müsli mit frischen Früchten oder ein Rührei mit Parmesan und Chili. Die Wartezeiten sind ausgesprochen angenehm, der freundliche Service arbeitet unaufdringlich und flott. Im Gast Café lässt es sich bei einem Cappuccino oder Flat White wunderbar entspannen. Noch dazu gibt es freies Wlan.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Fikabaren (Södermannagatan 10)

Ganz egal ob Ihr nur mal eben einen guten Kaffee trinken möchtet oder Ihr Bock auf ein Frühstück bis in den frühen Nachmittag habt, in beiden Fällen wird Euch im Fikabaren garantiert geholfen. Wir waren hier gleich mehrfach zu Gast, was eigentlich als Empfehlung schon alles sagt. Während manche Cafés in der Gegend oft sehr überlaufen sind und man schon bei der Suche nach einem freien Platz Stress empfindet, so ist davon im Fikabaren nichts zu spüren. Das ist schwedische Gelassenheit so wie wir sie mögen! Und wenn es dazu noch einen exzellenten Cappuccino gibt, sind wir doppelt glücklich. Aber auch das Frühstück kann (man) sich im Fikabaren sehen bzw. schmecken lassen. Wie so viele Cafés und Restaurants in Stockholm akzeptiert das Fikabaren nur noch Kartenzahlungen.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Omayma (Skånegatan 92)

Auch wenn wir keine Vegetarier oder Veganer sind, so haben wir doch keine Berührungsängste mit gesunder Küche. Tofu-Witze sind ohnehin schon viel zu alt, um noch lustig zu sein. Dass sich Geschmack und gesundes Essen nicht ausschließen, zeigt das Omayma auf Södermalm. Das gemütliche Café bietet verschiedene, meist vegetarische Bowls zum Frühstück und Lunch. Außerdem gibt es Sandwiches, Salate sowie klassische Frühstücks-Gerichte von Granola bis Avocado-Toast (manche Gerichte werden nur bis 11 Uhr angeboten). Man setzt auf Bio-Produkte und frische Zubereitungen. Beides schmeckt man!

 Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

 

Lunch & Dinner

 

Bar Agrikultur (Skånegatan 79)

Noch recht neu und schon fest etabliert ist die Bar Agrikultur im Zentrum Södermalms. Das kleine, gemütliche Restaurant mit seiner skandinavischen Tapas-Bar-Atmosphäre serviert von der schwedischen Küche inspirierte Gerichte, die zum Teilen gedacht sind. „Sharing is caring“ lautet auch hier das Motto. Unbedingt probieren solltet Ihr die unverschämt leckeren Käsebällchen und die Spieße mit Hühnchen und Schwein. Typisch Schwedisch sind zudem die Flusskrebse, die aus ihrer Schale gelutscht werden. Hier darf man sich ruhig die Hände schmutzig machen. Auch die Weinkarte und die Drinks sind hier auf einem ziemlich hohen Niveau. Kein Wunder, versteht sich die Bar Agrikultur auch als Gin Bar. Wer in Stockholm übrigens auf ein Restaurant namens Agrikultur trifft, der steht vor dem großen „Bruder“ der Bar Agrikultur. Das mit einem Michelin-Stern ausgezeichnete Restaurant serviert ein wechselndes Tasting Menu in lockerer Atmosphäre vor einer offenen Küche. Wer hier essen möchte, sollte jedoch unbedingt frühzeitig reservieren.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Tjoget (Hornsbruksgatan 24)

Hornstull war vor einigen Jahren noch keine Gegend, in die man sich als Tourist nicht unbedingt verirrte. Inzwischen gibt es aber einen guten Grund, wieso man dort unbedingt einmal vorbeischauen sollte (was dank Bus & Bahn auch recht einfach geht). Tjoget heißt das kulinarische Aushängeschild von Hornstull. Es ist Restaurant, Weinbar und Cocktail-Destination in einem. Aber zu den Drinks kommen wir später noch, immerhin haben diese einen eigenen Eintrag verdient. Im Tjoget wird ein mediterranes Menü aus vielen kleinen Gerichten angeboten, das man so auch rund um das Mittelmeer kaum besser serviert bekommen dürfte. Es fällt uns jedenfalls schwer, nur ein Gericht herauszuheben. Angefangen bei der Charcuterie über den frischen Burrata bis zum butterweichen Oktopus war jeder Teller einfach unglaublich lecker. Wir empfehlen Euch einen Tisch im hinteren Teil des Restaurants zu reservieren, da es dort etwas entspannter zugeht. Auch der Service hat im Tjoget die volle Punktzahl verdient. Und dann gäbe es noch die Cocktails. Mehr dazu erfahrt Ihr etwas weiter unten.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Schmaltz Bar & Deli (Nybrogatan 19)

Kein Bock auf ein 3-Gänge-Menü oder Fast Food? Irgendwas dazwischen vielleicht? Dann solltet Ihr unbedingt das Schmaltz auf Eure Stockholm-Liste setzen. Zentral gelegen bietet sich das Café/Deli auch als Zwischenstopp bei einer Shopping-Tour durch Stockholm an. Auf der Lunch-Karte gibt es Salate und Sandwiches sowie Deli-Spezialitäten wie Hühnchenleber-Parfait mit Toast oder die hausgemachte Pastete. Danach kann man im Schmaltz auch gleich noch einen Kaffee mit etwas süßem Gebäck genießen. Nach dieser kleinen Auszeit ist man dann wieder bereit für Stockholms Einkaufsstraßen.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Restaurang Volt (Kommendörsgatan 16)

Ein Menü, das sich mit den Jahreszeiten wandelt und das ausschließlich auf frische, unverarbeitete Lebensmittel aus der Region setzt. Gemäß dieser klaren Philosophie wird im Restaurang Volt gekocht, wobei „Kochen“ die Sache nicht ganz trifft: Denn im Volt wird Essen zelebriert und das ganz ohne falsche Feinschmecker-Attitüde oder Sterne-Gehabe. Die Atmosphäre ist locker und das Restaurant selber eher mit einem Esszimmer zu vergleichen. Als Gast hat man die Wahl zwischen einem 4- und einem 6-Gang-Menü mit oder ohne Weinbegleitung. Viele der Gänge sind entweder rein vegetarisch oder setzen auf frischen Fisch. Selbst wenn sich die Aufzählung der Zutaten in der Menüreihenfolge zunächst etwas seltsam liest, wir können Euch beruhigen: Das Ergebnis – und damit meinen wir im Volt jeden einzelnen Gang – bietet Küchenkunst auf höchstem Niveau. Außerdem solltet Ihr zum Abschluss unbedingt noch einen Kaffee bestellen, denn dazu serviert das Volt eine süße Überraschung.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Pelikan (Blekingegatan 40)

Wenn man ein Kölner Brauhaus nach Stockholm versetzen würde, es sähe vermutlich so aus wie das Pelikan. In dem großen Saal mit seinen alten Wandgemälden wird deftiges schwedisches Essen serviert. Gute Portionen, ehrlich, fettig, lecker. Es gibt Rentier mit Schweinebauch (!), Kalbsleber, Eintopf und natürlich die weltberühmten Fleischbällchen mit Kartoffelpüree. Das bei Touristen wie Einheimischen gleichermaßen beliebte Pelikan ist immer gut besucht und eine Reservierung daher dringend zu empfehlen. Andernfalls muss man sich auf längere Wartezeiten einstellen.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

 Östermalm Saluhall (Östermalmstorg 114)

Die vor Jahren komplett modenisierte Markthalle im Herzen von Östermalm mit ihren zahllosen Verkaufsständen und Restaurants, welche die ganze Breite der skandinavischen/europäischen Küche präsentieren, ist ein beliebter Treffpunkt für Einheimsiche wie Touristen. Dabei ist die Markthalle nicht so überlaufen wie ihr Pendant in Barcelona. Auch hier gibt es alles, was das Herz des Feinschmeckers begehrt. Angefangen bei einer großen Auswahl an frischen Meerestieren über Fleisch (Wild, Rentier) und Gemüse/Obst bis hin zu süßen Snacks und Desserts. Die Restaurants sind ab 11 Uhr geöffnet, die einzelnen Marktstände bereits ab 9 Uhr morgens.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Bars & Drinks

 

Tjoget/Linje Tio (Hornsbruksgatan 24)

Wie versprochen kehren wir noch einmal ins Tjoget zurück. Der Grund dafür ist schnell erklärt: Hier gibt es die vielleicht besten Drinks und Cocktails der Stadt. Zumindest war die Bar im Tjoget (Linje Tjo) schon mehrfach unter den „World’s Best 50 Bars“ zu finden. Und selbst wenn man solchen Rankings eher misstrauisch gegenübersteht, sind alle Zweifel und Skepsis spätestens mit dem ersten Drink verschwunden. Neben der hochwertigen Spirituosenauswahl überzeugt das Linje Tio mit einer sehr kreativen Barkarte und vielen hauseigenen Cocktail-Kompositionen. Wie bei einer Bar auf diesem Niveau üblich, sind viele der Zutaten hausgemacht bzw. werden diese von der Barcrew noch zusätzlich verfeinert. Bereits die Gestaltung der Eiswürfel zeigt, wie viel Wert hier auf jedes Detail gelegt wird. Der White Negroni dürfte selbst erfahrenen Negroni-Trinkern noch höchstes Lob entlocken. Gleiches gilt für die anderen Drinks, die wir probiert haben. Die Präsentation jedes Drinks ist absolut stilvoll ohne falsche Show und Gimmicks. Teil der hochsympathischen Tjoget-Familie ist auch das Paradiso, in dem am Wochenende wechselnde DJs für die richtige Party-Stimmung sorgen. Dazu werden kreative Tiki-Drinks (meist auf Rum-Basis) gemixt.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Mikkeller Bar (Brahegatan 3-5)

Eigentlich muss man die Craft-Beer-Pioniere von Mikkeller keinem Bier-Liebhaber mehr vorstellen. Die Dänen haben ihren globalen Siegeszug längst vollendet. Heutzutage gibt es Mikkeller-Filialen von Kopenhagen bis Los Angeles. Das Erfolgsrezept einer coolen Bier-Bar, die sich ganz bewusst von den verrauchten Kneipen und Kaschemmen absetzt, funktioniert natürlich auch in Stockholm. Aus ihrer dänischen Heimat haben Mikkeller nicht nur über 20 Biersorten sondern auch das weltbekannte Smørrebrød mitgebracht. Weil Trinken bekanntlich auch hungrig macht!

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

Corner Club (Lilla Nygatan 16)

Manchmal haben wir Probleme, die Stimmung für einen Ort in die richtigen Worte zu verpacken. Das Gefühl, wenn man sich auf Anhieb wie zuhause fühlt, ist aber auch schwer auszudrücken. In dieser Cocktailbar in Stockholms Altstadt Gamla Stan fühlten wir uns sofort wie Zuhause oder – vielleicht besser ausgedrückt – wie bei guten Freunden. Das ist vor allem den großartigen Gastgeber-Qualitäten von Barchef James (gebürtig aus San Diego) und Aron zu verdanken. Im sehr touristischen Gamla Stan hätten wir ein solches Barjuwel zunächst kaum vermutet. Auf der Corner Club-Homepage ist zu lesen, dass man sich als „friendly neighborhood cocktail bar“ bezeichnet. Und das trifft es ziemlich gut. Die Cocktail-Karte bietet viele Eigenkreationen unterteilt in drei Rubriken (Stiff, Shaken und Long Drinks). Der Rum-basierte, mit Lavendel veredelte „Shook Ones Pt. II“ hat es bei der Frau auf die Liste ihrer absoluten Lieblingsdrinks geschafft. Im Rhythmus von einigen Wochen steht immer andere Zutat im Mittelpunkt der neuen Drinks. Bei unserem Besuch beschäftigten sich Aron und James gerade mit den Blättern der Pandan-Pflanze.

 

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

A Bar Called Gemma (Grev Turegatan 30)

Obwohl Barchef Johan Evers sein kleines Cocktail-Paradies A Bar Called Gemma erst vor wenigen Monaten eröffnet hat, hat sich deren Existenz schon weit über die Stadt hinaus herumgesprochen. Wir können uns auch genau denken wieso. Denn Johan und sein Kollege Oscar Drigoris haben hier eine echte Wohlfühl-Cocktailbar erschaffen, die auf fantasievolle Drinks wie den „Banks of Monkey Island“ (ein Tiki-Cocktail serviert in einem Affenkopf), eine feine Klassiker-Auswahl und sehr viel Gastfreundschaft setzt. Hier sind zwei Mixologen hinter der Bar, die ihren Job mit echter Leidenschaft ausfüllen und nicht bloß Drinks nach Schema F mixen. Wir hoffen, dass sich A Bar Called Gemma mit diesem Konzept langfristig in Stockholm etablieren kann.

Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks Sneaker City Guide Stockholm Food & Drinks

If you want to be recognized with a bar concept in London, we wish you the best of luck! You sure will need it! The bar landscape of UK’s capital is probably the toughest of them all. Not even a city like New York can compete with London’s tremendous density and plurality of world-class bars. Just take a look at the familiar rankings and you will notice that this city is the cocktail capital of the world – hands down. That said, old Frankie’s famous lineif you can make it there, you can make it anywhere“ may also apply to London. Ryan Chetiyawardana, better known as “Mr. Lyan“ (we’ll stick to his alias for obvious reasons), has definitely made it here. Since 2013, when he opened his first venue “White Lyan“ in Hoxton, he quickly gained reputation for his new approach to mixology, cocktails and hospitality.

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness

His dedication and hard work got around within the industry. Only two years later he was awarded „International Bartender of the Year“ – in retrospect another milestone of his career as an entrepreneur and creative mastermind. At the time „Dandelyan“ was already making big waves. To those who aren’t that familiar with London’s cocktail scene, let us explain what Dandelyan was. At first glance it was obviously a hotel bar and on closer examination it was the best. Situated within the equally famous Sea Containers hotel (formerly Mondrian) with an unbeatable view of the Thames and Blackfriars Bridge, Mr. Lyan created a hotspot for mixologists and new bartending techniques, Thanks to his background in biology he never shied away from using uncommon natural ingredients or supposedly weird flavours.

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness 13

Besides all the creativity, Dandelyan raised the bar with regard to the overall bar experience by getting rid of outdated elements, implementing modern techniques and focusing on the individual guest. In 2018 Dandelyan finally came in at first (!) place at the much acclaimed „World’s 50 Best Bars Awards“. But instead of resting on his laurels Mr. Lyan announced on the same day the closing of Dandelyan. Not many saw that coming! Honestly, we were baffled too. His idea was to turn the World’s best bar Dandeylan into a new place called „Lyaness“, honouring its famous predecessor while simultaneously starting a new chapter in mixology. And that’s exactly where we are right now!

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness

During our last trip to London we booked a table for the „Fancy Tea“ at Lyaness. Of course, this place is more than a safe bet if you want to spend the evening with meticulously crafted cocktails in a truly elegant setting. At the weekends Lyaness’s house DJs take over, transforming the laid-back daytime vibes into a party scenery (we absolutely have to come back for this). In broad daylight Lyaness keeps the promise of a true beauty with its electric blue interior, the golden décor and the green marble bar that is a prominent leftover from Dandelyan. And while the bar could get very busy in the evening, we really loved the more relaxed atmosphere during tea time.

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness

The tea itself is a modern, playful update to a British tradition with different sweet and savoury treats like eclairs, little cakes, sausage rolls and devilled eggs. No English tea service would be complete without some tasty sandwiches. At Lyaness they make you poached salmon on dark rye bread and roast beef on focaccia. It’s delicious finger food that we enjoyed even more thanks to the sophisticated cocktail pairing (there’s also a boozeless tea service available). You will get more than a glimpse at Mr. Lyan’s award-winning, creative approach to bartending if you opt for the full Fancy Tea experience, which we highly recommend.

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness

The drink menu is based on different key ingredients, some quite uncommon for a cocktail bar (a similar approach can be found at Tayer+Elementary). Rather than building a drink around a spirit, Mr. Lyan and his team use house-made ingredients as a starting point for their often botanical creations. Motivated by a curiosity to find new flavours and to look beyond the obvious the results are truly unique and bold. Their „Jasmine Gimlet“ is an eye opener even for seasoned Gimlet connoisseurs. The jasmine treatment adds a softer, floral taste. It’s so good, you have to order at least one! Another drink from the Fancy Tea pairing is the rum based „Cold Brew Palmetto“ that plays with fruity and nutty flavours.

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness

While doing his research on different ingredients and new bartending techniques Mr. Lyan is also on the forefront of the sustainability movement in the industry (he should connect with chef Adam Handling). He is not only raising awareness for a more sustainable path, collaborations with acclaimed chefs and other bartenders are also very important to him. You can find another Mr. Lyan project in Shoreditch. The Cub restaurant is a partnership with zero-waste pioneer Doug McMaster. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Cub (another reason to come back to London). With Cub Mr. Lyan wants to „bring people together through great food and drink“. In a world like ours this might be the only solution to overcome prejudices and nationalism. People who share a good time will not hate each other. We get the point, Ryan! And we hope that you will succeed.

***

Finally we like to share Ryan’s thoughts on different aspects of his job, the status quo of the bar industry and his favourite London bars:

You were awarded „World’s best bartender“ and you owned the „World’s best bar“ with Dandelyan. After being „the world’s best“ what happens next?

Ryan/Mr. Lyan: We were very thankful for all the awards and recognition, but our real goal is to try and affect positive change in the wider industry, so we have plenty of plans on the horizon to continue to push and see what we can challenge. Some of these are through the venues, and some are events, talks, collaborations, anything and everything we can do to expand the ‚boundaries‘ of what food, drink and hospitality can be about.

Do you sometimes think that other bars try to become copycats?

Ryan/Mr. Lyan: The food and drink world is a tight industry, and as a result, there is lots of sharing of ideas, and this helps elevate the offering, and communicate it more effectively to the public so everything grows. However, at the moment, there does seem a propensity to default to what is established, comfortable, or classical – or what has been successful – and this can lead to some homogeneity, which I think is a shame. Sharing of ideas is natural, and wonderful, but it should always also be honest, personal and with integrity. People jumping on a bandwagon is inevitable in any industry, but we as stewards of our profession should call this out and encourage others do make something their own.

Sneakerzimmer meets MrLyan Lyaness

We came to Lyaness for your „Fancy Tea“ and we were blown away not only by the food and drinks but also by the overall atmosphere and hospitality. How important is the latter for a modern bar?

Ryan/Mr. Lyan: Great to hear! To us, what is in the drink, or on the plate is secondary. We try and help people have a better time out, or to have a better or more effective gathering with their friends and family. Are drinks and dishes are tools for this, but so is the decor, the music, the lighting – everything we can effect. We want to focus on hospitality and helping people gather, and we’re very proud of having a team that cares about this aspect, rather than just simply drinks.

We’re pretty sure that many could benefit from your experience. Do you have any advice for other bartenders or bar owners (what to do or to avoid)?

Ryan/Mr. Lyan: Don’t believe the hype, make it personal, keep learning, and find what you love and are interested in! And never be afraid to ask for help

London’s cocktail landscape is a one-of-kind. Which bars (besides your own) are your favourites?

Ryan/Mr. Lyan: I think London has the best food and drink in the world right now. From classical venues like The Connaught, The Savoy, Satan’s Whiskers, Happiness Forgets & Swift to eclectic modern venues like Three Sheets (and Bar Three), Tayer + Elementary, Coupette and Mint Gun Club, the scene is pretty unrivalled!

Thanks Ryan for your insights and of course for your time!

Mehr als 5 Jahre liegen zwischen unserem ersten und letzten Barcelona-Besuch. In dieser Zeit hat sich die Stadt auf vielen Gebieten sehr verändert. Deutlich wurde uns das nicht zuletzt beim Essen und bei den Drinks. Das Angebot ist vielfältiger, abwechslungsreicher und insgesamt auch besser geworden. Zumindest war das unser persönlicher Eindruck. Während wir damals noch Mühe hatten, ein gutes Café oder einen wirklich guten Brunch zu finden, so hatten wir nun eher die Qual der Wahl. Unsere Lieblinge wollen wir Euch in diesem Guide näher vorstellen.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-9

Food & Coffee

Ugot (Eixample)

Beginnen wir sofort mit einem absoluten Highlight für alle Frühstücksfans und Liebhaber süßer Versuchungen. Das Ugot bietet eine bezaubernde Mischung aus altmodischem Café, Frühstücks-Hangout und Kuchenbäckerei. Letztere sind erkennbar der ganze Stolz von Besitzer Adi Nachson. Egal ob Schokoholic, Zitronen-Liebhaber oder Cheesecake-Fan, das Ugot macht alle Kuchen-Junkies glücklich. Nicht zufällig heißt das hebräische „Ugot“ übersetzt ganz einfach: Kuchen. Ebenfalls empfehlen können wir die verschiedenen Shakshuka-Varianten zum Beispiel mit Schafskäse und Spinat. Auch der Kaffee/Espresso/Cappuccino wird hier in wunderbar altem Geschirr serviert.

Austral (Eixample)

Wer nur auf der Suche nach einem (süßen) Snack oder einem Kaffee ist, kann gegenüber vom Ugot in der Austral Coffee-Bar vorbeischauen. Die hochwertigen Röstungen werden hier stets mit großer Sorgfalt zu der gewünschten Kaffeevariante verarbeitet. Das kleine, ruhige Café war für uns immer ein willkommener Zwischenstopp. Aber natürlich kann man seinen Kaffee auch gleich mitnehmen, falls man noch etwas Besseres vorhat. 2,20 Euro für einen Cappuccino sind darüber hinaus ein echt fairer Preis. Am Sonntag ist das Austral geschlossen.

Nømad Coffee Lab (Barri Gotic)

In einer kleinen Gasse etwas nördlich des Barri Gotic versteckt sich das Nømad Coffee Lab, bei dem das Rösten und Kaffee zubereiten sehr ernst genommen wird. Dennoch ist das puristische Design des „Labors“ nicht als kühles, abweisendes Konzept zu verstehen. Vielmehr soll im Nømad nichts vom eigentlichen Hauptdarsteller ablenken. Und das sind in diesem Fall die eigenen Röstungen, von denen man sich am besten gleich eine für Zuhause einpacken lässt. Echte Kaffeegenießer sind hier genau richtig.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-3 Food & Barguide Barcelona-5

Caravelle (El Raval)

Zwischen bekannter Markthalle „La Boqueria“ und dem Museum für moderne Kunst liegt das Caravelle. Das Frühstück bzw. der Brunch ist ein weiterer Beweis, das sich Barcelona kulinarisch weiterentwickelt hat. Im Caravelle wird übrigens jeden Tag gebruncht. Auch das finden wir sehr sympathisch. Man benutzt ausschließlich frische und zumeist regionale Zutaten. Das Caravelle besitzt darüber hinaus eine eigene Hausbrauerei, in der verschiedene Biersorten hergestellt werden. Am Abend werden dann auch diverse Cocktails gemixt, die wir aber nicht selbst getestet haben. Für das Handwerk der Baristas im Caravelle vergeben wir indes die volle Punktzahl.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-10

Café Cosmo (Eixample)

Eine besondere Mischung aus Café, Restaurant und Art Space bietet das Café Cosmo. Während die Decken und Wände mit moderner Kunst verschönert sind, kann man an den bunten Tischen ausgezeichnet frühstücken/brunchen. Die freundlichen Mitarbeiter bringt selbst ein vollbesetztes Café nicht aus der Ruhe. Gelegentlich finden hier auch Kunst-Events, Lesungen und Pop-up-Shops statt. Damit ist das Café Cosmo der Prototyp eines modernen, multifunktionalen Treffpunkts. Wer geräucherten Lachs mag, sollte sich das Lachs-Toast mit Cream Cheese nicht entgehen lassen. Das „Schwester-Café“ Cometa in Eixample können wir ebenfalls empfehlen.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-23 Food & Barguide Barcelona-22 Food & Barguide Barcelona-21

Satan’s Coffee Corner (Barri Gotic)

„Höllisch guter Kaffee“ verspricht das Team des Satan’s Coffee Corner. Und tatsächlich nehmen die Baristas hier den Mund mit dieser Ansage nicht zu voll. Die etwas raue Punk-Attitüde der Mitarbeiter mag zunächst irritieren, in Wahrheit sind das aber echt nette Kerle, die mit ihrer leicht rebellischen Haltung nur etwas spielen und provozieren wollen. Dazu gehört auch der „Fuck Tripadvisor/No Wifi“-Spruch auf dem Kaffee-Counter, der uns zumindest zum Schmunzeln gebracht hat. Außerdem gefiel uns die Lage abseits des größten Trubels.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-27

Mercat de la Boqueria (Rambla)

Wir geben zu, dass Barcelonas berühmteste Markthalle ebenso wie die angrenzende Touristen-Meile Rambla oder der Park Güell eigentlich nicht mehr vorgestellt werden muss. Und dennoch wollen wir unserer Pflicht nachkommen und Euch den Besuch der Mercat de la Boqueria unbedingt ans Herz legen. Dabei sollte man sich auch nicht von den Besuchermassen aus der Ruhe bringen lassen. Am besten durchquert man die seitlichen Gänge auf der Suche nach den Wurst-, Käse-, Meeresfrüchte- und Obstspezialitäten. Nicht vergessen wollen wir die vielen süßen Versuchungen: Schokoladen, Pralinen, Kuchen, Eis, Fruchtsäfte. Die Markthalle verlässt kaum ein Besucher ohne einen Einkauf. Wir meinen: Statt einfallsloser Urlaubssouvenirs sollte man lieber von hier etwas für die Lieben zuhause mitnehmen.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-26 Food & Barguide Barcelona-18 Food & Barguide Barcelona-19

Chök – The Chocolate Kitchen (Rambla)

Praktisch in Sichtweite der geschäftigen Boqueria findet sich ein Paardies für alle Schokoladenliebhaber. Als Schokoliker fühlt man sich bei Chök tatsächlich wie im Himmel. Es gibt diverse hausgemachte Schokoladen, Pralinés und Gebäck. Der „Chök“ ist das Aushängeschild – ein besonders leichter, luftiger Doughnut mit viel Schokolade udn weniger Fett. Daneben bietet der Laden aber noch mehr als 30 andere Doughnut-Variationen. Da sollte eigentlich für jeden die passende Sünde dabei sein. Empfehlen können wir auch die edlen Pralinés, von denen wir am liebsten noch welche nachbestellen würden.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-24 Food & Barguide Barcelona-25

Speakeasy Restaurant (Eixample)

Unser Lieblings-Restaurant ist das Speakeasy in der weltberühmten Dry Martini-Bar. Genauer gesagt handelt es sich um ein „verstecktes“ Restaurant im Getränkelager des Dry Martini. Was zunächst wenig einladend klingt, überrascht dann aber mit einem erstklassigen Essen, Service und einer außergewöhnlichen Atmosphäre. Wir mussten mehrmals an „Der Pate“ oder „Goodfellas“ denken, denn das Speakeasy steht ganz in der Tradition amerikanischer Speakeasy-Etablissements. Die spanische bzw. mediterrane Küche auf Sterne-Niveau (viel Fisch, viele Meeresfrüchte) dürfte jeden Gourmet glücklich machen. Selbstverständlich gilt das auch für die Drinks, die in der legendären Dry Martini-Bar gemixt werden.

Oval (Eixample)

Der Sprung vom Fine Dining des Speakeasy zum Essen im Oval mag zugegeben recht groß sein. Denn hier steht klassisches Fast Food auf der Karte. Dabei haben die saftigen, sehr leckeren Oval-Burger nichts mit den billigen Kollegen der Burgerbrater-Ketten gemein. Man kann aus über einem Dutzend Zutaten und Saucen seinen Wunsch-Burger über ein Multiple-Choise-System zusammenstellen. Für 3,50 Euro bekommt man ein zusätzliches Patty. Sogar an Vegetarier und die Low-Carb-Fraktion (Burger im Salat statt Brötchen) wurde gedacht. Das Restaurant bietet zahlreiche Sitzmöglichkeiten und ist damit auch für größere Gruppen geeignet.

Totora (Eixample)

Eine Küche, die in den vergangenen Jahren die Welt erobert hat, ist die peruanische. Statt einer Reise nach Peru kann man auch im Totora die Spezialitäten des südamerikanischen Landes erleben. Eine Ceviche, also roher Fisch in einem Sud aus Limttensaft, Chili und Salz, gehört hier natürlich zu jedem Menü. Auch der Einfluss der japanischen Küche wird in den meisten Gerichten sehr deutlich. Die Tiraditos (roher Fisch in Sashimi-Form) oder die besonderen Tacos sind weitere Highlights des Totora-Menüs, für das man am besten ordentlich Hunger und Appetit mitbringt.

Bismilla Kebap (El Raval)

Bevor man im Raval die Bars und das Nachtleben erkundet (oder auch danach), sollte man im Bismilla Kebap das Schawarma, die Falafel oder eine der anderen arabischen Gerichte bestellen. Da ist der Kebap-Laden unseres Vertrauens, der noch dazu unschlagbar günstig ist (2 Portionen Schawarma mit Salat, Schafskäse und einem Getränk kosten zusammen 10 Euro). Bismilla Kebap sind unter Touristen wie Einheimischen gleichermaßen beliebt. Die Gründe dafür muss man nicht lange erklären. Ihr werdet uns Recht geben! Allein hasserfüllte AfDler werden hier ihren Halal-Albtraum erleben.

Roast Club Café (Eixample)

Wer wie Iker Zago seinen Job als Berufung begreift, der schafft für seine Gäste und Kunden einen Platz wie das Roast Club Café. Nach seiner Barista-Ausbildung, die ihn erst nach Costa Rica und dann unter anderem nach New York führte, eröffnete er sein eigenes Café. Das ist inzwischen in Eixample ein beliebter Treffpunkt für alle Kaffeeliebhaber. Wenn dort mal wieder kein freier Platz zu finden ist (das Café ist wirklich klein), kann man seinen Cortado oder Cappuccino natürlich auch „to go“ genießen. Etwas Wartezeit und Geduld sollte man aber gerade am Morgen mitbringen.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-14

****

Barlife

Dry Martini (Eixample)

Ehre wem Ehre gebührt! Das Dry Martini als Institution der Barkultur zu umschreiben, ist fast zu wenig des Lobes. Seit 40 Jahren steht die Bar von Bartender-Legende Javier de las Muelas für Cocktailkunst auf höchstem Niveau. Dabei sind vor allem die Fans klassischer Drinks, namentlich des Martini, hier in den allerbesten Händen. Die Dry Martini-Variante gehört eigentlich längst in den modernen Cocktail-Kanon. Inzwischen ist de las Muelas Herrscher über ein Bar-Imperium mit Dry Martini-Filialen in zahlreichen Städten auf der ganzen Welt. Auch die Gimlet-Bar in Barcelona gehört ihm. Er hält Vorträge, ist Buchautor und der Experte für den perfekten Martini. Seine „Stamm-Bar“ in Eixample, dort wo alles begann, eroberte mit ihrem unverwechselbaren Charme und der Kunst der dortigen Bartender unser Cocktail-Herz.

Two Schmucks (El Raval)

Ein Grund, weshalb wir es lieben, immer neue Bars zu besuchen, ist ihre Unterschiedlichkeit. Auch die Barszene in Barcelona bedient inzwischen so ziemlich alle Geschmäcker. Der Kontrast zwischen einer klassischen Bar wie Dry Martini und Two Schmucks in El Raval könnte jedenfalls kaum größer sein. Jede dieser Bars ist auf ihre Art absolut einzigartig und für uns ein echtes Highlight. Two Schmucks, das sind Moe Aljaff und Ahmed Moussa White, die hier mitten in El Raval eine herrlich entspannte Dive Bar eröffnet haben. Das war 2017. Nur rund ein Jahr später haben sich beide bereits den Titel „Beste neue Bar in Europa“ verdient. Aljaff und White sind Weltenbummler, die nach Stationen in mehreren Top-Bars im Two Schmucks nun ihre ganz eigenen Ideen konsequent umsetzen. Es läuft meist Hip Hop-Musik, von den Wänden grüßen Jim Carrey und Sätze wie „Fuck everyone! We’ll do it on our own“. Die Drinks sind dazu immer von einer ironischen Kreativität. Das fängt bereits mit den Namen an. Der “Breakfast in Tinseltown“ ist zum Beispiel eine grandiose Old Fashioned-Variante. Regelmäßig schauen im Two Schmucks auch andere bekannte Bartender für einen Gastabend vorbei.

Food & Barguide Barcelona-7 Food & Barguide Barcelona-8Food & Barguide Barcelona-29 Food & Barguide Barcelona-28

Paradiso (El Born)

Würde sich nicht regelmäßig eine Schlange vor dem unscheinbaren Gebäude bilden, man könnte das Paradiso ziemlich leicht übersehen. Und selbst wer hineinschaut, wird zunächst in die Irre geführt. Denn der scheinbar kleine Pastrami-Spot beherbergt hinter einem Fake-Kühlschrank eine der weltbesten Bars. Die elegante Bar mit ihrem wunderschönen Holz- und Leder-Interior bietet zahlreiche kreative Drinks, die durch ihre ungewöhnliche Präsentation, die qualitativ hochwertigen Spirituosen und natürlich ihren Geschmack zu überzeugen wissen. Das Bar-Team ist perfekt aufeinander eingespielt. Selbst an einem Samstagabend muss man daher nicht wirklich lange auf seinen Drink warten (die Wartezeit vor der Bar kann dagegen schon mal eine gute Stunde betragen). Nicht unerwähnt sollte der Pastrami-Snack bleiben, der sogar die prämierten Cocktails fast noch in den Schatten stellt.

Collage Art & Cocktail Social Club (El Born)

Ebenfalls im sehr touristischen El Born versteckt sich mit dem Collage Art & Cocktail Social Club ein weiteres Paradies für Cocktail-Liebhaber. Aber anders als im deutlich bekannteren Paradiso findet man hier aber selbst an einem Samstag Abend noch einen Tisch (zumindest vor 22 Uhr). Dabei können die Drinks mit denen anderer Top-Bar absolut mithalten. Mehr noch: Cocktails wie der „Gonzalez“ oder die Whisky Sour-Interpretation „John got Lavender“ spielen in der Königsklasse der Bartender-Kunst. Das bunt zusammengewürftelte Vintage-Mobiliar sorgt hier für eine angenehme Wohnzimmer-Atmosphäre. Unser Geheimtipp unter Barcelonas Bars.Food & Barguide Barcelona-12