New York: Top 10 Absinthe Dens

imageOver a year ago, the first legal absinthe since before Prohibition made its way to New York. Now, its omnipresence — whether of the variety that’s true to the original or not — has inspired plenty of noteworthy concoctions. As to the supposed hallucinogenic properties of the liquor, those remain a hotly debated topic, but head to any of these spots and, at the very least, you can try and blame any unruly behavior on your legal drug use.

10. Bookmarks in the Library Hotel (Midtown East) – An absinthe cocktail named after famed author and absinthe-lover Oscar Wilde is great. Blitzes of Midtowners looking for their after-work alcohol fix? Not so much. With that in mind, head to Bookmarks on the later side for some cozy digs and a fireside Oscar Wilde. 9. Employees Only (West Village) – Party like it’s 1920 as you sip on your Martinez — made with gin, maraschino liqueur, bianco vermouth, and dashes of absinthe bitters — at the perpetually packed Prohibition era-inspired spot. 8. The Eldridge (Lower East Side) – Who needs Rose Armand de Brignac Champagne when you can have tableside absinthe service? All you need now is a way in and someone to foot the exorbitant bill.

7. Death & Co (East Village) – Not for nothing will you face a pain-in-the-ass wait to get into this diminutive no-reservation spot. Intricately prepared, Death & Co’s absinthe-based cocktails even have perfectly sized ice cubes. 6. Vintage Irving (Union Square) – For a laid-back spot with a neighborhood feel, the absinthe bar at Vintage Irving delivers. Plus, what could be better than Death in the Afternoon (Lucid, sugar cube, and champagne), on a lazy Sunday? 5. Sweetiepie (West Village) – Best for the uber-girly or those looking to punish a misbehaving boyfriend, you can pair your absinthe with milk & cookies at this Alice in Wonderland-esque spot. 4. Tailor (Soho) – Because while traditional Gummy Bears are good, absinthe ones are better. 3. PDT (East Village) – Sure, the gimmicky twist of going through Crif Dogs’ phone booth gets old, but there’s no denying that the folks at this faux-speakeasy take their absinthe — served in small pours or in absinthe-based cocktails — very seriously. 2. White Star (Lower East Side) – Until recently, this popular LES spot was devoid of fancy cocktails. But they definitely concentrate fully on absinthe. Watch as mixologist extraordinaire Sasha Petraske prepares it the old fashion way — from experience. And when speaking with the master, it’s best not to bring up preparing absinthe using fire. 1. Apothéke (Chinatown) – You’ll feel like you landed on some sketchy movie set when you approach the oddball stretch Apothéke is located on, but make your way past the crank façade and marvel at the 19th-century-inspired spot where apothéker Albert Trummer serves up his own homemade absinthe.

New York: The Hottest Weekend Party Nights

imageAbout damn time.

Friday 1. 1Oak (Chelsea) – Cool rules the door at this lavish new hot spot. 2. Ella (East Village) – Deco blacks and whites glamming up lower Avenue A. 3. GoldBar (Nolita) – Gold is the new black.

4. Mr. West (Chelsea) – Snug, stylish hotness in the middle of gallery-ville from Danny Divine and DJ Jus Ske. 5. Little Branch (West Village) – We’ll go out on a limb and say it’s cocktail heaven.

Saturday 1. Merkato 55 (Meatpacking District) – Crazy-dancing-on-the-tables-brunch at this Addis Ababa market inspiring latest MePa grazing. 2. Santos Party House (Chinatown) – Big, sweaty, hot bi-level boite with sick sound and killer acts for dancing downtown darlings. 3. subMercer (Soho) – Submerce yourself in max exclusivity deep in the bowels of the Mercer Hotel. 4. White Star (Lower East Side) – Chase that flighty Green Fairy thanks to a clever loophole in the trade laws. 5. Cain Luxe (Chelsea) – Revamped hotspot amps up the system, add some design touches, focuses more on electronic music.

Sunday 1. Freeman’s (Lower East Side) – Hunting lodge chic pioneer, newly expanded to better display animal head and stuffed bird collection. Booze-fueled brunches are the best here. 2. Sway (Soho) – Moroccan-themed rocker. Share in the angst with La Lohan on Sunday night Morrissey fests. 3. Le Souk (East Village) – Fezzes, hookahs, belly dancers, hotties, and oglers. Indulge your ADD. 4. APT (Meatpacking District) – Not-so-secret cooly-skooly dancing spot. Likely scene of future iPod playlist war. 5. Socialista (West Village) – Cipriani team brings Cuban hotness behind the handsome face of Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri.

New York: Top 5 Saturday Hotspots

image Look out weekend. Here we come.

1. Merkato 55 (Meatpacking District) – Crazy-dancing-on-the-tables-brunch at this Addis Ababa market inspiring latest MePa grazing. 2. Santos Party House (Chinatown) – Big, sweaty, hot bi-level boite with sick sound and killer acts for dancing downtown darlings. 3. subMercer (Soho) – Submerce yourself in max exclusivity deep in the bowels of the Mercer Hotel. 4. White Star (Lower East Side) – Chase that flighty Green Fairy thanks to a clever loophole in the trade laws. 5. Cain Luxe (Chelsea) – Revamped hotspot amps up the system, add some design touches, focuses more on electronic music. For updated party information, check out this weekly curated list on where to go and what to do all week long.

Short Stack: Openings

New YorkZorzi opens, bringing Northern Italy to Murray Hill via salt cod risotto and stewed cuttlefish with polenta. ● The LES makes room for the Sacha Petraskes’ White Star, which he calls a “sipping spirits bar.” Standouts include the cocktail “Death in the Afternoon” — equal parts Champagne and Absinthe. ● Spicy Pickle opens in Brooklyn Heights, taking DIY subs a notch higher.

● Fast food chain Empanada Joe’s opens in Morningside Heights to lukewarm reviews. ● Apotheke opens later this week, taking up residence in Chinatown’s Bloody Angle and serving up medically inspired cocktails “for whatever ails you.” ● After several months of renovations, Home reopens in West Village. The menu’s the same, and the year-round, heated-in-the-winter outdoor garden space is the same, but the kitchen — it’s brand new.

San Francisco ● No wifi, no comfy seating, no fancy drinks, just excellent brew (of the coffee bean varietal). Four Barrel Coffee is open! ● With just two booths and seven stools, mini lounge Minibar opens in Western Addition. This tiny spot showcases local artists, rotating artists every six weeks. ● Spanish eats Joya is open for lunch and dinner on University. ● From boba to booze, Bubble Zone in Richmond has reopened as Sake Zone. ● The Mission welcomes Latin American Limon Rotisserie, sequel to Limon, which closed in June.

Los Angeles ● Gouda, Swiss, Bleu — if those words are like sweet nothings to you, check out Andrew’s Cheese Shop, just open in Santa Monica. Home delivery (by bike, natch) is available. ● Opaque is back. Dine in the dark, this time in a new venue: inside the V Lounge on Wilshire, in Santa Monica. ● Mission Cantina opens in Hollywood, the third spot by George Abou-Daoud in a four-block radius, taking up residence next door to the Delancy and down the street from the Bowery. Look for an extensive Tequila menu. ● Ventura goes upscale with addition of the Watermark. Highlights include the locally grown food, the rooftop bar, and plenty of Central Coast wines. ● Tapas and Wine Bar C opens downtown. Roll out and look for French-maid waitresses in six inch heels, fur-covered walls, flat-screen TVs, and rowdy karaoke. ● Apple Lounge officially opens after Labor Day, the first of three spots to take over where Pearl left off. Apple Lounge will be joined by Apple Restaurant and the Pussycat Dolls Lounge. ● Sashi Sushi + Sake Lounge opens in Manhattan Beach.

Chicago ● Asian Fusion Urban Belly opens in Avondale. Focus is on noodles, but not the ramen kind.