When we first started hanging out – and bartending – in the ‘hood, the Meatpacking District had just a handful of places to drink (Hogs & Heifers, Florent and The Hog Pit were some faves) and lots of meat hanging from hooks. But in recent years, the once-unvisited neighborhood has been completely taken over by super-trendy clubs and club-staurants, with waitresses clad in short dresses and guys in suits ordering bottle service. So we were pleasantly surprised during a recent visit to Troy Liquor Bar, which had none of the usual pretentiousness or flashiness of many of the restaurants and bars in the Meatpacking District.
Housed in the basement space that was formerly 675 Bar and, before that, Level V, hospitality giant BR Guest has dressed the place down, with comfortable furniture, a bar staffed with friendly staff, lots of private nooks and crannies and a pool table. The vibe is low-key and relaxed, self-described as “a throwback to a simpler time, when there were hippies, not hipsters; when the Meatpacking District was a wholesale meat market instead of a champagne brunch on steroids.” Exactly.
For our first cocktail, we order the Dirty Boulevard, a mix of Brooklyn Gin, yellow chartreuse, Aperol and white peach. Sidenote: we are really into gin for spring and summer. The first sip was a bit overwhelming, with all the different flavors. But once our palate adjusted, we were hooked. Everything blended together and it was just the right amount of bite. The blueberry garnish was also a nice touch.
Next up, we went for the Thunder Road with George Dickel rye, fresh lemon and Six Point Crisp. Rye and beer? Yes, please. It was refreshing but strong – in a good way.
The well-rounded menu also includes the Jailbreak with Jameson Irish Whisky, Pimm’s No. 1 and fresh lemon, the Fireball cinnamon whiskey-based Call me The Breeze and the Tall Cool One – a blend of Firefly Sweat Tea Vodka, Triple Sec, fresh lemon and lime – perfect for summer. On par with being low-key, the cocktails at Troy Liquor Bar are just fun and inventive enough, without trying too hard.
675 Hudson Street, lower level; 212-699-2410; www.troyliquorbar.com
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