Angel’s Share is one of those bars that you want to make your local hangout, whether you live in the neighborhood or not. But even the most seasoned barfly might be intinidated by the rules: No standing. No parties greater than four.
This is the place that basically invented the speakeasy vibe, long before Milk & Honey and Pegu Club. This week, we go drinking with Erina Yoshida, the COO of Yoshida Restaurant Group that was started by her father in the 1990’s and includes Angel’s Share, Village Yokocho, and Kyo Ya.
Angel’s Share opened up in 1993 as New York’s first authentic Japanese bar serving up cocktails and Japanese comfort food, located upstairs, inside of Village Yokocho, a Japanese izakaya. The vibe at Angel’s Share is one of the best in NYC, but it’s the thoughtful and creative cocktails that truly stand out.
And while it’s now a not-so-secret spot, this East Village spot – which opened nearly 25 years ago – still manages to maintain that air of exclusivity, even after all these years.
Drinking With Erina Yoshida
State your name and occupation for people that might not know you.
Erina Yoshida, Chief Operating Officer – Yoshida Restaurant Group
How did you get started in the biz?
My dad was in the restaurant business from back in 1970 when he started an ice cream shop in the East Village so I grew up around the business.
The artwork over the bar seems to be in every photo of the bar. Can you explain it?
It’s a satirical version of Michelangelo’s Sistine Madonna painting with an Asian baby angel in the middle. The Asian baby’s my brother (he’s alive and well)
Beyond the bars, you run six restaurants including the Michelin Star rated Kyo Ya? What are your go-to drink orders at each venue?
It’s hard to choose my go to drink orders but I do enjoy a nice glass of Japanese highball, sake, shochu and wine. My go to cocktail at Autre Kyo Ya is Diplomatique.
Coffee or Tea? Do you have a local coffee shop?
I love both coffee and tea. I definitely start off with a coffee in the morning. I either make a latte at home or go to The Underline. I grew up drinking tea so I have a fondness for it as well. For tea, I love hoji-cha (roasted green tea) and Mugi-cha (roasted barley tea, caffeine free)
What is your hangover remedy?
Running outside – don’t think it really helps but it helps clear my head. Also lots of water and sleep. Ramen for food!
Favorite late night eats when you have been drinking?
I always can have a slice/pie of pizza, or Izakaya food at Village Yokocho
You just got back from a lengthy trip to Japan. What were your favorite venues, or some cant’ miss places?
Bar Sui-Ren:located in Higashi-Chaya geisha district for seasonal fruit cocktails
Dug Coffee in Shinjuku: this old school coffee shop is known for playing jazz while enjoying delicious coffee and whiskey.
Yokocho alleys: they are filled with tons of small eateries for fun bites and drinks (Omoide Yokocho, Yurakucho, Ebisu, Ameya, Koenji)
Tafia: best rum bar. They even have a few Japan produced rums.
Tafia Rum Bar
Kagurazaka area in Tokyo is one of my favorite neighborhoods.
What was your first boozy experience?
Weird colored cocktails at age 14 in NYC
What is your Death Row Drink order, aka the last drink ever?
Yamazaki 18 yr on the rocks
Favorite spots for:
Where do you take out-of-towners for an NYC only cocktail experience?
King Cole Bar, Bemelmans, Grand Banks
Favorite “date night” bar/restaurant?
Angel’s Share, Buvette, Maison Premiere, Frankies Sputino (Brooklyn)
Classic dive bar?
Ear Inn, Corner Bistro
If you are going for a wild night out, who is your drinking buddy?
My circle of best friends – they know who they are. Oh, and my mom!
Tips for people that are looking to get a table at Angel Share?
Get there early! We also have a 2nd AS a few stores down above a restaurant called Sharaku. This 2nd location is only open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday at the moment. If you don’t want to wait in line, I recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Village Yokocho first and head on over to Angel’s Share.
Angel Share has been around for what seems like forever, how do you keep up the quality? What is your hiring process?
We’ve always had amazing bartenders that mentored and took the team under their wings. We would always put people in the entry position of barback, host or prep. Hiring process has been mainly word of mouth recommendations. If you’re interested in joining the team, don’t hesitate to talk to us directly at the bar!
Shameless plug: What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a few projects but I can’t tell just yet.
Social call: where can people follow you?