Mr. Purple is Redefining the NYC Rooftop Bar

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Forget labels.

Opposite of me there is a couple, friends, what have you. One sports a poofy hairdo with blond tips, and the other a high-n-tight cut with a dad cap. They share a twine corner table for lack of space, one sitting on the other’s lap, both smiling, carrying Tecates and sipping with leisure.

Across the room, an expansive couch section remains unoccupied. It’s reserved for VIP clientele, presumptive influencers who smile into their Instagram feed to sway even more urbanites to pack themselves 2-by-2 on twine corner tables.

IMG_1156You enter on the fifteenth floor. Limpid light enters into a room that’s surrounded by scenic metal. To the South is Fidi, East is Brooklyn, West is Soho. But here you are in the Lower East Side. This isn’t just another rooftop; Mr. Purple is a rooftop redefined.

Post industrial lighting dangles like lanterns in an ore mine, no, more like fluorescent jellyfish in the deep sea. Rooftops are usually appreciated from the outside, and Mr. Purple doesn’t disappoint.

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They took time however, to decorate the interior. Ropes strung across the ceiling like vines in a canopy. And this is what I mean when I say that they are redefining the rooftop.

An NYC rooftop is made up of expensive drinks, tourists, faux artists, and a general NYC classist malaise. Mr. Purple traverses this tight rope, by I think, one factor alone said three times…Location, location, location. Amid the Attaboys, Bar Gotos, and Nightcaps, there are some heavy hitters in the cocktail scene. And by being nearby, it attracts the people who frequent these bars, and who just have something different in mind for the night.

It must be said that Mr. Purple does flirt with all of these rooftop features. It is pricey, it does have some tourists, and it does host some judgey looks as you pass, but it also goes beyond these features.

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You’ll see tinder dates, meet ups, old friends and sorority sisters, Argentinian newcomers, French bankers, skinny and plus sized models, the director, cast and crew– and if you get lucky, maybe you’ll see Mr. Purple.

No, not really, unless you count the bar manager standing over there with his arms crossed. Mr. Purple actually derives its name from Adam Purple, a controversial gardener who constructed New York’s Garden of Eden nearby. This glossy rooftop bar is supposed to pay homage, but paradoxically does the opposite, by ‘standing for’ exactly what Mr. Purple opposed. Urban expansion.

The drinks:

They have a line of what I like to call “specialty” drinks, which are cocktails particular to a bar. I took the Barrel of Monkeys, while my gf ordered the eponymous drink, Mr. Purple.

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Barrel of Monkeys: Banana Infused Jameson Black Barrel, Bayou Select Rum, Fresh Pineapple, Lemon Juice, Cinnamon, Cardamom

Mr. Purple: Casamigos Reposado Tequila, Cranberry Liqueur, Allspice Dram, Apple, Lemon. served punch style

Both drinks were meh, but I was still delighted by their extensive specialty menu. And delighted to drink in the view as much as the cocktail.

Con Amor,

Alexander Cohiba

Insta: @mrpurplenyc

 

 

The Perfect Negroni at Dante NYC

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During Negroni week, arguably the dopest week of the year, me and the gov’na rendezvoused over libations at this quaint, yet highly recommended Italian Bistro. It’s a joint that I’ve read much about, but up until now, I hadn’t had the pleasure.

At first impression, the inside makes you want to redo your sorry excuse of a kitchen.  Plants, white accents, natural light, classic tiling oozes vintage Greenwich Village, but rings contemporary as well. The outside makes you want to judge with  distinguished authority.

Breezy Parisian seating on the south end of Macdougal provides ample space for relaxation, and enough traffic for people watching. The houses across the way are painted vibrant hues. Every once in a while a UPS truck will block your view, and a dog from the far table will bark at the delivery man. The wind picks up, and dares to swipe your napkin from the table. The glassware is sparkling, vintage looking, but is actually new and from the supplier cocktail kingdom.

The drinks are crisp, tart, impressionable.

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I took this vermillion baddie of a drink.

The Negroni moves across your palette like models on a Milanese runway. Smooth, practiced, and full-bodied this cocktail was awarded the prestige of a Triple Crown Drink, which places it alongside the company of the Manhattan and Martini.

Originating in Florence, when Mr. Negroni asked for Gin instead of soda in an Americano. Bold move. The bartender, feeling himself, threw in an orange wedge just because. And like magic, Mr. Negroni slated his own gold star in the walk of cocktail fame.

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This tall, tan and handsome drink is the Garibaldi.

We got the juice, forreal, we got Orange juice. Blended until fluffy, then they pour Campari into polished glass. Easy to assemble, but noteworthy. Its another of the bar’s favorites, but has proliferated throughout the world as a distinguished summer beverage.

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Dante is a place that has, with evidence backing it, a mastery of its craft. To me its a perfected version of what it embodies, a laid back, but visually tickling tavern that specializes in Italian Food & Drink. You can get a banging Espresso, Bolognese, or Flatbread, but I’d always recommend one of their drinks.

Negroni

Pile in an Old Fashioned Glass filled with ice, stir 5 times, and garnish.

Garibaldi

  • 1 1/2 ounces of Campari
  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Orange Wedge for Garnish

Blend the OJ until foamy, pour into an iced Collins Glass and garnish.

Con Amor,

Alexander Cohiba

 

Insta: @Dantenewyorkcity

 

 

Astoria: Finding your Second Home at the RAR Bar

On the outside, it resembles a little Bohemian haven that you’d expect to catch while whizzing past the town of Woodstock. Wooden trinkets cover the windows, the chandeliers are crafted from wine glasses, live music is often emanating, and when it’s not live, it’s music from the Woodstock Era, Crosby Stills, Hendrix, Credence Clearwater. This bar occupies a very special place in my New York experience. And when I move from Astoria this summer, it will be dearly missed.

Rest-au-rant or RAR bar is at once replaceable and irreplaceable (think U2 With or Without You), because it’s a component vital to any neighborhood. It’s the bar next door, metaphorically and literally.

And what’s so special about Rest-au-rant?

IMG_0946Frankly, it’s not the food. Although their hamburger with a slice of Gorgonzola, 3$ Sliders, No Commitment Charcuterie, and a couple of others get the job done. A couple of plates however, have left me with quizzical looks.

The events that they host, Comedy Night (Tuesday), Live Music (Thursday & Saturday), Film Night (Sunday), are very cool, and I oft-go to them, but they are nothing specific to this bar.

IMG_0945It’s the vibe. The vibe is extraordinary, especially on humdrum, foggy Winter Thursday nights when it’s just you and a hatful of other faces jaded from the city life. Like a randomly unfriendly patron once told me during a long talk, ‘I don’t talk to random people at bars.’ He was an indie Movie director, with Andy Warholic looks, and a mercurial gaze that shifted from his drink to his phone screen. But we talked, and talked, until it was time for a nightcap and to head our separate ways.

Another night, I met a Puerto-Rican businessman with girlfriend troubles. We talked about Hawaiian-Puerto Ricans, the diaspora. My family’s diaspora. He seemed to take off his troubles with his winter coat, as he showed me a Youtube video of how these two little islands connected.

Once I met a pair of lawyers who had just left the courthouse. They just needed to blow off some steam with Friday afternoon Pear Martinis, and pork belly tacos. I was there to get some Headspace, but ended up with free tacos and a great time with a convivial bunch of never-see-you-agains.

IMG_0948Tina, the owner of the bar, hand-crafted most of the items that give the bar that boho-chic flavor. She says that she wants it to be a gathering spot for the artists in the neighborhood, and she has succeeded while still having a clientele that are the unpretentious, Astorian leftovers from the pre L-line shift. The bar itself is built in a horseshoe shape that she designed. The plates are molded and crafted for the particular dish. The stage for live music was assembled by her.

DB, the daytime bartender is the friendliest, most laid-back guy you’ll ever meet. He played American Roots music down across the Mason-Dixon, and graced us by coming up North.  I bought his album. No shame. And every time I’ve walked in, he’s given me a new viewpoint on anything that’s been troubling me.

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My gf acting a fool

They know what kind of beer I want when I sit down; they boast a real community of locals, not just eccentric individuals who reach for attention, but genuine, humble, as salt of the earth as you can get in the biggest city in the U.S; and they are the embodiment of the second home–an antithesis to those wayward souls who languish over a drink in a stuffy Manhattan cocktail bar.

Basically, find yourself a Rar Bar and hold on for as long as you can.

Con Amor,

Alexander Cohiba

Address:  30-01 35th Ave #1, Queens, NY 11106

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/RaR-Bar-120276598029985/

Insta: @tinasrarbar

Web: http://rarbarlic.com/rarbar/welcome.html