After stuffing ourselves at Maialino on Saturday night, AV and I wanted a nightcap. Since it was so cold out (did I mention it was freezing outside?), we didn't want to go far. Hark! What's that nearby? The bar at Eleven Madison Park? Sure, we'll try it. So we power-walked the few blocks to 24th street and ducked inside to see if there were any openings at the bar. There were-- several open bar tables, in fact-- so we settled in.
A friendly server brought us menus and a dish of their bar snacks, a trio of olives, peanuts, and homemade potato chips. I gobbled the olives while AV did away with the other two delights.
As for drinks, I went with a pinot noir, which the server let me taste before committing to a full glass. It was by far the best pinot noir I've had-- very fruity, not too tannic, and not too earthy either. Must it even be said that the glassware was beautiful and the pour very generous?
AV went for one of their cocktails, the "A la Louisianne." It sounded pretty, ahem, hearty from the description: Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Benedictine, and Peychaud's Bitters. When it arrived in a long-stemmed martini glass, we were both a bit suspicious, but one sip confirmed that this drink would put some hair on your chest. It was incredibly complex, with flayers layered seamlessly, one asserting at first sip, one as the liquid rolled in your mouth, and still another after the swallow was gone. Intriguing and warming and sophisticated, all at once.
We lingered at the nearly empty bar for a few hours, passing the cold evening in one of my favorite places on earth. Drinks at EMP are certainly not cheap-- for the two of us, with tip, the tab came to over $40-- but for a night of delightful "entertainment," it can't be beat.
Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Avenue, at 24th Street