Eight Reasons to Love the New 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

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With luxury skyscrapers going up all over Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, we’re long past the notion that there is still some set of mythical “Brooklyn values” in place. (You’d probably have to move to Omaha for that.) But while some of the borough’s trendy hotels (i.e. The William Vale) feel more SoBe than BKNY, the gorgeous new 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (we popped in for the opening bash last week) feels distinctly….right for the “new” Brooklyn.

In all honesty, the hotel could likely simply advertise, “Well, we’ve got these views of Manhattan…” and the job would be done. But it’s actually shot through with what seems a genuinely sincere attempt at conscientious hospitality, down to the recycling baskets in the rooms. And yet, there is most definitely a subtle glamour at work as well.

Here’s what we (and you will as well) love most about it.

Views! Views!…Views!

Surely Manhattan looks best at its southernmost. And waking up to the sun rising over the East River, and glancing over the hotel’s namesake bridge to the epic towers of the Financial District – that is hands down our new favorite amenity right now. Oh, how jealous your Instagram followers will be.

The Design

We were instantly taken with what could only be described as a beautifully realized Asian-industrial aesthetic. Distressed concrete gives it a “not-too-overdesigned” feel. And everywhere you look, something seems to bring you closer to a sense of serenity – while the high ceilings, tall columns and massive windows inspire a bit of awe. Call it…”epic zen.”

Rooms With Sliding Windows (and Views!)

American hoteliers have a terrible habit of installing windows in the rooms that open only about two inches…or not at all. Those at 1HBB actually slide all the way open – glory! And glass enclosed showers mean that you can scrub-a-dub-dub whilst thrilling to those aforementioned spectacular views. We love the concrete floors, too.

The Tesla

The hotel has its own black, gull-wing Tesla, which can zip guests around to nearby locations. Very. Cool.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

How many hotels in New York City have their own park? And indeed, 1HBB sits proudly amidst the lovely waterfront green space pithily named Brooklyn Bridge Park. Spend a peaceful sunset moment after a long day of dealing with the world and its wife.

Poolside Cocktails

You could have easily guessed this one. In May a new venue will be unveiled at 1HBB, for cocktails and bites by the pool. Expect it to be a scene – but one with (see above) really, really great views.

A Seamus Mullen Restaurant

The chef who famously ate his way out of debilitating arthritis – and also gave us NYC’s Bouqueria and Tertulia – will be opening a restaurant at 1HBB. Expect cuisine that is Spanish influenced, and very, very health conscious.

It’s Pet Friendly!

Bring Fido. He’ll love the park as well, obviously.

 

A Renaissance Republique Paris Guide

Paris Place de le Republique
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Oh so much of the buzz concerning Paris’ hotel scene in 2016 revolved around the those opulent legends awarded the classification “Palace”: the reopening of Le Ritz, and delayed reopening of de Crillon and Le Bristol chef Eric Frechon being named the culinary overlord of the city.

But we found ourselves taken with one of a decidedly more groovy appeal, the new Renaissance Paris Republique.

It debuted last summer with a glamorous, Misshapes-DJ’d opening bash. But we popped in for a stay recently with the intent of kicking about the Marais, one of our most beloved Paris hoods – which is also the stomping grounds of the indie fashion set. The hotel turns out to actually have one of the most trend-perfect locations in the city: alongside the grandiose Place de la Republique; a few blocks from the hip restaurant scene on the Canal Saint Martin; an easy zip to the cool-kid nightlife happenings along the rue Oberkampf; and just a picturesque stroll to the center of the aforementioned Marais.

 

 

The hotel also has some of the most stylish features in the capital. Rooms in the Bobo category each have a little balcony overlooking the rooftops of the 10e; but we loved the Urban Rooms, with their wide, porthole windows and sexy glass bathrooms. Downstairs the cool Martin Bar off the lobby is a throwback 60s/70s mod, serving not only swish cocktails but also a signature, eponymous beer. It spills onto a gorgeous terrace.

And then there’s that rarest of things: a truly worthy but not exorbitantly priced hotel restaurant, in this case the hotel’s Origin eatery. Benedicte Van der Motte (another rarity, a top female French chef) heads an excellent kitchen that turns out such delectable surprises as lamb sweetbreads and egg yolk confit.

Best of all, the Renaissance Republique is romantic enough for a Valentine’s Day getaway, and chic enough for a home base during the upcoming Paris Fashion Week (February 28 to March 7). Here’s how to make it a perfect Parisian stay.

 

Shopping in Le Marais

Plan to spend an afternoon strolling the boutique strewn streets of the Marais, especially the Rue des Francs Bourgeois and Rue Vieille du Temps. Some highlights: Piscine, Maje, Sandro (pictured below), Iro, L’Eclaireur. Take a break at on-so-Parisian Cafe Au Petit Fer a Cheval.

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Dining Along Canal Saint Martin

Once a rather scruffy stretch, the canal is now home to the coolest mix of ethnic food in the capital. A few faves? Le Cambodge, for Cambodian dishes that are custom made to your taste; Street Bangkok (pictured below) for Thai street food and a stylish crowd; Typick Café for Aussie inspired eats in cool, colorful surrounds.

Nightlife in the Rue Oberkampf

One of Paris’ first hipster enclaves, it’s still counted amongst the city’s great bar crawls. For a bit of plundering-chic, hit up the buzzy Bar Les Pirates; the nearby Le P’tit Garage has the vibe of a classic American rock & roll joint; and Ave Maria mixes retro-chic with a knowing reggae/soul soundtrack.

 

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Romantic Winter Getaways: From Madrid to Mexico

Only You Boutique Madrid
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Only You Boutique Hotel, Madrid 

Love hasn’t exactly been in the air in 2017, has it?  But winter is still the absolutely best time to pitch some serious woo in someplace terribly romantic. And whether it’s the beach or the snow or just a hotel suite with really fabulous views that gets your heart racing, we know just where to send you.

 

Only You Boutique Hotel, Madrid

Barcelona has the party people, but Madrid has the food, the wine and fiery spirit. Chueca is one of the capital’s hippest neighborhoods, home to a thriving gay community, sexy nightlife, and also one of the most strikingly designed hotels on the entire Continent. Exalted designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has decked the breakfast room walls with plates, the elevator with books, and the corridors of this 18th Century mansion with untold surprises. The two cocktail bars and the YOUnique restaurant are each more stylish than the last – the latter even has a patio with a kind of surreal hanging garden. Splurge for one of the stunning terrace suites, overlooking the surrounding rooftops.

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Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Quebec

Canada turns 150 this year, and with hotsy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the helm, she’s never looked better. And who needs the beach when you can take your true love dog-sledding? The chateau here is actually the largest log structure in the known world, built in the 1920s. Spend the day skating or cross-country skiing before a L’amour De Ma Vie couples massage in the spa. Finish the evening making googly-eyes over hot toddies around the six-sided fireplace in the rustic-gorgeous lobby lounge. Let it snow…

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The Langham Huntington, Pasadena

It’s been a rough few months for Hollywood and its, shall we say, “value system.” But we still say “let love rule.” And thankfully, just up the freeway from La La Land is a place of beautiful sanctuary for sensitive, creative sorts. Indeed, Pasadena’s Langham Huntington has everything you could possibly need to stir up a little soul-soothing romance: rooms overlooking ethereal gardens; long walks on acres of lawns; signature couples treatments at the on-site Chuan Spa; and something called Pink Chocolate Afternoon Tea (which involves, yes, a pink chocolate fountain). After dinner at The Terrace, snuggle up with live jazz and specialty cocktails in the bar.

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Hilton Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas

All talk of Mexico these days seems to involve that…wall. But for those with love in their hearts, our neighbor to the south has plenty of amor to give in return. One of its splashiest beach resorts, Hilton Los Cabos, offers scuba diving, swimming with dolphins…and it’s also whale watching season. Or just kick back by the sprawling pool, book one of the spa’s four couples rooms, and find your “center” together with aerial yoga, Zumba and Transformational Breathing. Sunset dinner at one of the five restaurants (Vela is best for setting the mood) can be followed by tequila and mezcal tastings in the Azul lobby lounge. La vida romántica!

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EXCLUSIVE: Recipes From SUSHISAMBA’s Limited Edition Ramen Menu

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Above image: Tori No Su

Ramen has had quite a run on the charts, hasn’t it? Food fads have come and gone, but the dorm-room-staple’s culinary canonization and subsequent extended exaltation has been rather astonishing.

Recognizing this, the perpetually groovy SUSHISAMBA (West Village, NYC location) launched on Wednesday, February 15, a new (ready for it?) Brazilian & Peruvian-spiked ramen menu, “SAMBA RAMEN BY KOJI.” It’s as impressive as it sounds, with such delectable delights as Yasai Yasai vegetable kale ramen, and Shōtoribu bone marrow, short rib, peruvian corn, baby bok choy, mushroom, egg.

“Ramen is a typical Japanese soul food that lends itself to many different styles,” says Chef Koji, a Takamatsu, Japan native and ramen aficionado, who counts Brazilian capoeira as one of his skill sets. “I’m excited to add an element of surprise to this Japanese staple and present it in a new and unique way, [with] contrasting textures, bold flavors and beautiful presentations executed with passion, precision and technique.”

Here he gives BlackBook the sublime recipes for two of his specialties, so you can, indeed, try this at home. But we highly recommend doing “SAMBA RAMEN BY KOJI” in situ, amidst SUSHISAMBA’s cool, sexy interiors and fabulous people watching.

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Tori No Su (bird’s nest) – Dessert Ramen 

Serves Four
¼ pack ramen noodles
¼ cup cinnamon sugar
Follow cooking instruction on package for ramen. Then fry in canola or vegetable oil until golden brown. When removed from frying, let drain on paper towels, adding cinnamon and sugar mix. Let cool down.
Mango-Passion Fruit Gel
25ml mango purée
10g sugar
1/8 tsp agar agar
8g water
10ml passion fruit purée
Take sugar, agar agar and water and bring to a boil. Add in both the mango and passion fruit purée and bring to another boil. After it comes to a boil, cool down and blend. If needed, add in a little water to help loosen the consistency.
Ramen Ice Cream
150ml milk
60ml cream
25g sugar
10g dextrose
5g trimoline
15g milk powder
1 tbsp stabilizer
20g crispy ramen
Follow directions for cooking cinnamon-sugar ramen above.
Combine milk powder and cold milk. Add all other ingredients, except cream and ramen and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, let cool, add in cream and then ramen and let sit overnight in a refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator, blend together, strain out ramen and follow manufacturer’s instruction on ice cream machine.
11ml cream
1 tbsp trimoline
6g gianduja chocolate (hazelnut flavor)
15g jivara chocolate
30ml cold cream
Plating ingredients:
Drizzle mango-passion fruit gel and chocolate hazelnut cream around the center of the plate, sprinkling toasted hazelnuts (if you like). Place crispy ramen on top of gel and chocolate hazelnut cream, placing ramen ice cream on top of crispy ramen.

 

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Bēkon, Uni and Chīzu

Serves Four
2g thin slice of bacon
400g curly ramen noodles
20g sea urchin (uni), Maine
30g sea urchin (uni), Santa Barbara
½ white onion, diced
20ml white wine
600ml heavy cream
4g aji amarillo
14.5g Manchego cheese
2g chives diced
2g dry miso
2 pieces roasted seaweed
2 clove garlic finely diced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat small pot on medium heat for about 2 min. Add Maine sea urchin, aji amarillo, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring the contents of the pot to a simmer turn off heat and let cool.
In a separate pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil and let sit on high heat.
Take the cooled ingredients and add to a blender. Blend on high for approximately 20 seconds or until ingredients are smooth with no clumps.
Heat small sauce pan on medium heat for about two min. Add splash of canola oil. Add in garlic sauté until lightly brown. Add in white onion and bacon sauté until bacon is fully cooked. Add black pepper.
Keep pan over medium heat, add white wine and uni, aji amarillo, and cream mixture, gently combining all ingredients. Add 14g Manchego cheese and continue to stir.
Add ramen noodles to boiling water. Cook for 1-2 min or until noodles are soft.
Remove ramen noodles from boiling water and add to sauce pan with all other ingredients.
Turn heat down on sauce pan to low and stir.
Add all ingredients to a ramen bowl. Sprinkle with the rest of the manchego cheese, chives, and dry miso

London Fashion Week Stay: The Covent Garden Hotel

Covent Garden, Central London
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During London Fashion Week (February 17-21) there are any number of hotels that are teeming with the model-designer-blogger triumvirate. But we’ll always pass on poshie Mayfair and Trendy Shoreditch for a stay in Seven Dials.

Why exactly? The micro-hood is home to our fave London sleep (and perpetually one of the city’s most chicest), the Covent Garden Hotel – which turned 20 in 2016. And over those two decades, its seductively trad/mod styled rooms and gorgeous public spaces have held the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Poppy Delevigne, Kirsten Dunst, Bono, Stella McCartney, Kate Winslet, Amy Adams, Orlando Bloom…the list could genuinely go on (and on). It even had a starring role in Woody Allen’s Match Point.

From its plush Drawing Room and Library to its elegantly cool Brasserie Max (our go-to spot in the capital), every inch of the hotel is a perfectly realized tableau of Englishness, but as captured by a true modern iconoclast (Firmdale Hotels proprietor-designer Kit Kemp, of course). And its Monmouth Street location almost makes it feel as if you might have nipped off to the fashionable Cotswolds – but that Soho’s shopping and nightlife are just ten minutes away.

We asked the hotel’s charming General Manager Helle Jensen to take us through a perfect couple of days worth of activity in Seven Dials – the perfect antidote to all the hype and schmoozing at the shows.

Get Your Morning Jolt at Monmouth Coffee

Just over the road from the hotel, a fantastic café that roasts and sells coffee from single farms, estates and cooperatives. They travel extensively throughout the year bringing the most interesting varietals back to Covent Garden.

Make a Day of the Brunch Film Club at Brasserie Max

Every Saturday we host the Brunch Film Club in the luxury cinema in the hotel. Two courses and a prosecco or bloody mary at our Brasserie Max, plus the film, is just £40. 

Have a Colourful Lunch at Neal’s Yard

Neal’s Yard is a wildly colourful courtyard hidden down a small alleyway opposite the hotel – and named for the 17th century developer, Thomas Neale. After hitting shops like Neal’s Yard Remedies and Neal’s Yard Dairy, have lunch at Wild Food Café (raw/veggie), Homeslice (gourmet pizza), Barbary (North African) or the impossibly hip outpost of Paris’ Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (below). 

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Shop For…

Stylish Eyewear at Walter & Herbert 

Walter Conway and Herbert Thorn started the business in 1946 and it’s still going strong today. Worth a visit to browse through their stunning 20-piece optical range and other products such as notepads, lambs’ wool scarves and key rings, all made in England. A gift for her? A pair of incredibly chic Lavender Crystal Blyton sunglasses.

Fashion & Accessories at Orla Kiely

Irish contemporary designer Orla Keily is known for her unique retro prints and designs, and her store in Seven Dials is one of only two in London. From a small collection of accessories – commissioned by Harrods following her graduation from the Royal College of Art – the range has grown to include a complete ready-to-wear collection, travel, homeware and stationery.

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Get Well Groomed at Murdock 

Ahead of any night, we recommend gentlemen visit Murdock London. They have a great range of English made colognes and daily essentials, as well as barbershop experiences to stay sharp. For the perfect holiday gift for him, choose from exclusive grooming kits like The Stay Sharp Straight Razor Box and The Handsome Beard Box. 

See To Your Wellbeing at Another Space

Keeping fit during any trip is important, so I’d recommend visiting this brand’s new fitness boutique. Focusing on cycle, HIIT and yoga, the best part is that they don’t require any membership or joining fees – which is perfect for our visitors.

Take in Award Winning Theatre at Donmar Warehouse

During its 24-year history, the Donmar has won over 100 awards for its artistic excellence, gaining it an international reputation. It’s a 251-seat, not-for-profit theatre on Earlham Street and is renowned as one of the UK’s finest – George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, starring Gemma Atherton, closes this weekend. Nip back to the bar at Brasserie Max after, for a Med G&T or Silly Mid Wicket cocktail, and scintillating post-theatre chat.

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Iggy, Warhol, Debbie Harry: Punk Tome ‘Please Kill Me’ Turns 20

Debbie Harry Please Kill Me
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When Please Kill Me, the Uncensored Oral History of Punk, was released in 1996, it garnered immediate praise for its decadent first person accounts of the birth of the bad-behavior-masquerading-as-art known now as New York punk. Comprised solely of interviews with and stories from the originators of the scene, it helped define the oral history literary genre, while providing a car-crash narrative from the likes of Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, assorted Ramones, Debbie Harry, Malcolm McLaren, and sundry other of those responsible for it all.

Recently given a twentieth anniversary makeover by writers/editors Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, the new edition adds photos and an afterward, and gives us another chance to live vicariously through a look at a time in New York when life, drugs and friendships were cheap and fast, and the best art happened late at night in some very dark places.

Here are some of the best moments…

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Andy Warhol

“We all knew something revolutionary was happening. We just felt it. Things couldn’t look this strange and new without some barrier being broken.”

Lou Reed

“Andy would show his movies on us. We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway.”

Iggy Pop

“When we came to New York to play Ungano’s I went up to see Bill Harvey, the general manager of Electra, and said, ‘I can’t possibly do four gigs in a row without drugs – hard drugs. Now it’s gonna cost this much money and I’ll pay you back…’ It was like a business proposition right? And he’s looking at me like ‘I do not believe this.'”

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Debbie Harry

“[Punk Magazine co-founders] John Holmstrom and his living cartoon creature Legs McNeil were two maniacs running around town putting up signs that said “PUNK IS COMING!” We thought, Here comes another shitty group with an even shittier name.”

Lou Reed

“Rock & roll is so great people should start dying for it. People are dying for everything else, so why not the music?”

William Burroughs

“I always thought a punk was someone who took it up the ass.”

Patti Smith

“I tried to make it with a chick once and thought it was a drag. She was too soft. I like hardness. I like to feel a male chest. I like bone. I like muscle. I don’t like all that soft breast.”

Malcolm McLaren

“When Nancy Spungen came into my shop it was as if Dr. Strangelove had sent us this dreaded disease, specifically to England, and specifically to my store. I tried every single way possible either to get her run over, poisoned, kidnapped, or shipped back to New York.”

Lou Reed

“I never had kids screaming at me particularly; they’d scream at David Bowie not me. Me? They would throw syringes and joints on the stage.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Wild Boar Ragu Recipe from Chef Rachael Polhill of Dante

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NYC’s Caffe Dante opened all the way back in 1915 – and was, for decades, a go-to hang for the city’s louche, bohemian literary and artistic types. Indeed, over the years its seats held everyone from Patti Smith to Al Pacino to Lana Del Rey.

But perhaps recognizing that more people photograph food now than actually read books, Dante got a makeover in 2015 – dropping the “Caffe,” but preserving the boho charm. And with Aussie chef Rachael Polhill helming the kitchen, delectable sourdough flatbreads, housemade pastas and piatto di formaggi have replaced the dog-eared copies of The Dharma Bums on the tabletops.

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One of our faves is the papardelle with wild boar ragu – which is apparently also a conscientious dinner choice.

“This bowl of pasta in particular is so special because I was challenged to use wild boar,” the chef tells us, “which is an unconventional ingredient. Interestingly enough, boar is beneficial to cook and eat because they are serious contributors to agricultural degradation. Environmentally conscious and delicious, it’s a winter staple on the Dante menu.”

Here she let’s us in on the particular magic that goes into her recipe.

Rachael Polhill’s Wild Boar Ragu

2# wild boar stew meat
2 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
Salt
Season the meat liberally with the spices and salt. Brown the meat in a saute pan until browned and transfer into a casserole or braising dish.
100g yellow onion
100g carrots
100g celery
3 cloves of garlic
250ml red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 Bay leaf
1 qt Chicken stock
Add chicken stock
Peel and roughly chop all the vegetables. Blend in the food processor until it becomes a paste. Cook the paste in a saute pan on medium heat with a little oil, stirring, until it starts to caramelise 8-10 mins. Add red wine and reduce by half, pour over the meat, along with the chicken stock, bay leaf and tomatoes.
Braise for 2.5 – 3hrs at 300 degrees F.
Serve with pappadelle, ideally home made, but if not allow 80-100g per person.
Finish with lost of chopped italian parsley and parmesan cheese.

New Favorite NYC Restaurant: Black Barn

Black Barn Main Dining Room
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It’s a great New York story. Childhood pals John Doherty and Tom Struzzieri come together years later and decide to open a restaurant. While still conceptualizing, the former visits the Hamptons home of another friend, the exalted designer Mark Zeff – who has built a celebrated aesthetic canon around the brand Black Barn. He is taken with Zeff’s inimitable style, and their new restaurant becomes a sublime realization of their shared philosophy.

Black Barn, the dining destination, is quite a spectacular place – a “rural” escape that just happens to be located at the intersection of Chelsea, NoMad and The Flatiron. Under Zeff’s stylistic direction, the main dining room sits below a dramatic, skeletal-looking set of barn rafters; and that vibe carries on to the furnishings and lighting, creating a setting that is rustic yet elegant, cozy but opulent. There’s also a Tavern room, for a more casual rendezvous.

Doherty, a former Waldorf Astoria chef, has created an earthy menu: slow cooked Colorado rack of lamb, local venison loin, butternut squash ravioli, Irwin Farm foraged mushroom toast. Yet the dishes are hardly unassuming, but instead rather elegant, even sumptuous.

“After spending what seems a lifetime at the Waldorf serving haute cuisine on silver platters,” explains Doherty, “I just wanted to break from that scene, yet still serve the food I love to cook and eat. So Mark created this rustic, very comfortable environment that I geared a menu to. At Black Barn, everything is connected – all of your senses are stimulated to bring you to the same place.”

All this month, the restaurant’s Chef’s Table will offer a special All Black Truffle Menu, featuring such ethereal creations as scramble duck egg with shaved truffles and wild boar raviolo with truffle butter.

 

And if you love the aesthetic of the restaurant, make sure to pop in to Mark and Kristen Zeff’s Black Barn Shop in DUMBO, which stocks carefully selected home objects from around the globe.

 

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Cocktail Legend ‘Employees Only’ Opens in Miami

Employees Only Cocktail image
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It’s hard to imagine now, but when Employees Only opened in the West Village in 2004, it was really only them and cocktail pioneers Milk & Honey in the game. But with the word “mixology” having long ago reached its self-parody stage, EO is at last in serious expansion mode.

Amidst the Art Deco chic of South Beach’s Washington Park Hotel, the new Miami outpost of EO (which opens today), like the original – there’s also one in NYC’s Chinatown, and another in Singapore – is all understated classiness: dark woods, tin ceiling, retro lamps, flattering lighting accents and an awe-inspiring wall of booze. It’s savvy of them, of courses, to not try to create some SoBe-fied version – but rather to just do what they do so well.

“While looking for the perfect Miami location for Employees Only,” explains Founder Billy Gilroy, “it was important to maintain the brand’s Deco roots and serve as a place for locals first.”

As much a restaurant as bar, Employees Only liquid classics like the Billionaire Cocktail and the Lazy Lover will be complemented by bone marrow poppers, steak tartare and a selection of caviar. Since the classy Washington Park is hardly some preening scenester hotel, expect more of a sophisticated crowd that is serious about its drinks.

Apres imbibing, book into one of the WPH’s sleek terrace suites, to wake up to sunny SoBe views.