Vintage Madeira and The Cure: Drinking with Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn

The Beatrice Inn is one of the most historic and iconic New York City restaurants in the game. While it has gone many transformations throughout its storied history spanning nearly a century, it is now that The Beatrice Inn seems to be living its best self. That is largely because of its Executive Chef and Owner, Angie Mar, who purchased the restaurant from Graydon Carter in 2016.

Angie Mar is the type of chef and woman that the world needs more of right now. Confident, talented, beautiful, unapologetic, sharp and just all around BADASS, this Seattle native has sharpened her knives at Reynard, Diner, Marlow & Sons and The Spotted Pig, before taking the helms at The Beatrice Inn.

Angie is best known for her unabashed passion for butchery and working with whole animals. Her menus are not created to appease anyone, and if you don’t like it (insert shoulder shrug) oh well! While our girl crush on this carnivore continues to blossom, let’s go drinking with Angie Mar.

Drinking with Angie Mar

Tell us a little about The Beatrice Inn and what you suggest ordering at the bar.

The Bea (The Beatrice Inn) is such a storied establishment, with roots dating back to the 1920s. It was one of New York’s first speakeasies and my key bartender, Antanas Samkas, has a beautiful way of maintaining the classic whilst giving it freshness.

My favorite cocktails on our menu are his Smoked Manhattan and the Laphroaig Champagne Cocktail. If you’re popping in for a bite, you must get the Poutine of Game Birds. It’s a dish that we do only at the bar and is the perfect remedy for the winter cold.

How did you get started in the biz?

I have been cooking for eight years, but I come from a family of restaurateurs. So it’s in my DNA, I suppose.

What is your current go-to drink order?

I tend to be quite predictable when it comes to spirits. Martini after a long day; vintage Madeira with meats; whisky to finish a meal; and Champagne when I’m in love.

Do you drink coffee or tea?

I drink both! I always begin my morning with the biggest coffee imaginable. My mother grew up in Oxford, so I was raised with the religious philosophy that there is NOTHING a pot of tea can’t fix.

I generally take mine with milk and two sugars. Tea & Sympathy is one of my favorite spots in the West Village.

Tell us about your first boozy experience?

I think I was about 15, traveling with my mother in London. I was permitted to have a Grasshopper, so long as I didn’t tell my father, which I clearly did as soon as I saw him. Recently, Antanas added a Smoked Grasshopper to our menu, paying homage to that childhood memory.

It’s fun and playful; he makes a light as air foam with creme anglais and elderflower that is then smoked with cherry wood and served in a vintage crystal egg. It makes me feel like I am a child all over again.

What is your hangover remedy?

Korean BBQ and an Asahi. I do believe that kalbi ribs, rice, and kimchi stew can solve even the nastiest hangovers.

If you are day drinking, what’s your poison?

Champagne. There is no other option.

What is your very last sip death row drink?

1927 Bastardo Madeira. Madeira has been my obsession for the past ten years. When I bought The Bea, one of my goals for the beverage program was to amass a collection of Madeiras that was the largest and most rare in the city.

One of my dearest friends set about finding the rarest and oldest vintages for me and he came back with something that is near and dear to my heart. 1927 was a spectacular year for New York; The Yankees won the world series with their Murder’s Row, “The Jazz Singer” debuted, Charles A.

Lindbergh made the first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris, and most importantly for me, it was my father’s birth year. We bought all of the remaining bottles of 1927, and they are safely stored at the Bea. There is one bottle though that I have resolved not to open; only for something incredibly special.

If you could have drinks with anyone dead, alive or fictional, who would it be and what would you both be drinking?

If I could choose anyone at all, I would throw a great cocktail party, and invite everyone. [Chef Auguste] Escoffier and Julia Child would be in attendance, along with my dear friend Jordana Rothman of Food & Wine Magazine.

They would drink martinis. Madame de Pompadour would be drinking Billecart Salmon by the magnum all evening, and eating chocolates, and Allison Park, my dear friend and owner of Brenne Whisky would be pouring her 10-year single malt.

Antanas Samkas, key bartender, would be doing magic tricks and making cocktails, and Sinatra would be drinking scotch with Nathan Wooden, the Wine Director of Carbone, while Marco Pierre White drank huge reds and cooked us his famous pig trotter.

With so many big name industry names in your rolodex, who is the best drinking buddy for a wild night?

Diane von Furstenberg has the best parties at The Beatrice. She is one of my favorite people with whom to share my stash of Japanese whisky.

What’s your soundtrack in the kitchen?

I love music and The Bea, it has a fun vibe about it. Our cocktails are all named after old school rock and roll songs. When I’m in a Saturday night mood, Luchini by Camp Lo. On Sundays when I’m recipe testing, ‘Round Midnight, by Miles Davis.

When I’m writing and creating, it’s typically Mendelssohn or Chopin. And when I’m just in a fun mood, probably “Close to Me” by The Cure.

Tell us a bit about how the beverage program at The Beatrice Inn and how it compliments your cuisine.

I am tremendously proud of our beverage program and the people who’ve built it. Antanas Samkus is a mad genius. He’s just brilliant really. We met three years ago and have been tied at the hip ever since.

His imagination and creativity are matched only by his dedication, and his dedication is matched only by his tremendous knowledge of food and the vision of what we want The Beatrice to be. His cocktails are playful and imaginative, with roots in the classics, yet spun with fresh ideas.

There is no seat I’d rather be at in the city, then at the bar of The Beatrice. The music, the banter, the show, the drinks! It’s such an awesome sight to behold.

The 45-day dry aged burger is kind of the talk of legends. What would you pair with it?

Thank you. That burger was truly a labor of love, and I am grateful that over the years it’s gained such a following. For me, I love to curl up by the fireplace and drink Peyre Rose Clos de Cistes.

I’m so thrilled to have it on our wine list, as we are one of only four restaurants in the country to offer it. It’s perfect for our food, as we often play with the ideas of masculinity and femininity and this wine exemplifies that.

You’re from Seattle. What’s your favorite bar there?

Honestly, I don’t get back to Seattle much so don’t get to enjoy the nightlife. When I am there, I am always thrilled to spend time with my family in my childhood home, around a fireplace making s’mores and drinking delicious reds or whisky.

Any advice for aspiring young guns wanting to break into the industry?

Don’t get into this industry for fame or for money. Do it for passion. There’s no school like the old school, so that’s how we run our kitchen. Our bar and floor are French military-style dedication, self-discipline, passion, and learning. It’s creating a future generation of cooks and restaurant professionals that I hope will grow to become better than ours.

I often see young cooks who are just after money or fame and lack passion and dedication. Those are the ones who will never make a difference. Stay true to your passion, learn from the best and dedicate yourself to being better. A better cook, a learned person, someone who works smarter, harder, faster and cleaner than anyone else. And someone who isn’t afraid of failure.

This industry is tough. We breed toughness, and the industry will also chew you up if you’re not strong enough. But when the people are the right fit, we also breed the best family to be a part of… And that is something that will never fade for me.

Angie’s NYC Joints:

Taking out-of-towners for an “Only in NYC” experience?

Carbone. It’s my favorite place in the city and has become my second home. Eat all of the pastas and indulge in the Rum Cart.

Romantic “let’s get it on” date night?

I am out all the time, so for me, enjoying a night in is always welcome. My kind of romance is chilled crustaceans and eating with my hands, followed by the best dry aged rib eye.

I always like to have three different bottles of wine on the table so I can bounce back and forth, trying different things and flavor combinations. Food should be incredibly sexy.

A Classic Dive Bar night?

Small’s for jazz, then onto Arthur’s Tavern on Grove Street for a bit of ruckus. Finishing with sake at Blue Ribbon Sushi, not really a dive bar, but still where I like to end my night with a bite when I am out.

Super Crafty Cocktails?

The Beatrice! My bartenders are some of the best in the city, it is truly amazing to watch them work.

Late Night (Drunk) Eats?

  • Coppelia for pernil.
  • Great NY Noodle Town for duck over rice and sauteed noodles.
  • My favorite taco truck on 14th and 8th for chorizo quesadillas and carnitas and lengua tacos. Get the green sauce … it’s so necessary.

Your local Neighborhood spot?

I reside on the Upper West, but I like to joke that I actually live at The Beatrice. For the Upper West, X’ian Famous Foods is always go-to. The oxtail noodles are something that I dream about continuously. But the West Village is where I spend most of my time.

Tea & Sympathy for the cream tea in the afternoon and Meyer’s of Keswick is my a go-to for Shepherd’s Pie. I also love sitting at the bar of Nakazawa on Commerce Street or the sushi counter at Sushi Seki on 23rd when I need something more low key. ZZ’s Clam Bar is always a go-to for Siberian style oysters and delicious cocktails.

Social Call – where can Thirsty readers keep up with your adventures on social media?

Instagram: Chef Angie Mar @angiekmar / The Beatrice Inn – @beatrice_inn

The Beatrice Inn Details

285 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014, 212-675-2808, @beatrice_inn

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