Tastemaker’s Choice: Grace Gotham

Grace Gotham

Although I love living on the Upper East Side (more specifically, Yorkville), I find that when I’m jonesing for a delicious, handcrafted cocktail, it is nearly impossible to find. Other than a couple of restaurants that have a specialized drink or two on their menu – a caipirinha here and a mojito there – my neighborhood is mostly long spans of Irish pubs and generic sports bars with a frat house feel. Sure, they offer some good beers, but if you want a decent glass of wine, champagne, or something besides a Cape Cod, you’re pretty much out of luck.

So, I inevitably have to wait until I find myself out in Boerum Hill Brooklyn at Clover Club; on the Lower East Side at Milk & Honey or Freemans; at Weather Up TriBeCa; or somewhere between Chelsea and the Flatiron District for a libation at Raines Law Room.

However, I found a very interesting place last week – in my own neighborhood and only a few weeks old – that has a very interesting wine cocktail menu (created by Meaghan Dorman of the aforementioned Raines Law Room), as well as exceptional food, and a sophisticated (yet rustic) ambience that somehow combines an English country cottage, a London corner pub, and Freemans, sans taxidermy – although the wood-paneled space with multiple skylights and a secret outdoor garden was formerly a taxidermy shop (no kidding!).

Jones Wood Foundry is a British-themed place that describes itself as “a food driven pub” (note the savvy omission of the omnipresent and overused “gastro pub”). The long bar has burlap sack-covered bar stools, interesting beer offerings (including the hard-to-find-above-14th-Street Allagash White), and food menu that will delight any Anglophile.

My cocktail of choice at JWF? The “First Bloom,” a refreshing concoction of sauvignon blanc, elderflower cordial (St. Germain), lemon juice, and club soda. The absence of a liquor license (beer and wine only), may sound disappointing at first, but it gets customers out of their same ol’ boring drinking habits and invites them to try something new – and surprising delicious. (And yes, you still get a buzz! Don’t worry!).

As if that’s not enough to get Upper East Siders tickled pink, JWF also has incredible British food. The cod-n-chips that I had there a few days ago is, without a doubt, the best fish-n-chips I have ever had the joy of devouring (easily beating out the fish-n-chips I ate during a trip to London in 2004, which previously held the title).

Jones Wood Foundry
401 East 76th Street (between York and First Avenues)

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Tastemakers Choice: Sir Eric Channing Brewer

Eric Channing Brewer

Eric Channing Brewer

If you are visiting Washington D.C. and looking for charm which may be off the beaten path, you have to consider checking out the city using the Capital Bicycle Share Program. It’s like zip car for bikes but better in that you can pick up a bicycle in one area and drop it off in another. For example, you can be in Georgetown for some day time shopping and lunch, take out a bike and head to U street for an early evening drink at a cool pub like Marvin or St. Ex. You leave the bike at station on a corner across the street from a pub. The same type of bike share program exists in Montreal and Paris. It’s the perfect travel accessory that you don’t have to buy. Locals use the program like they do the metro system

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Tastemakers Choice: Robin Wallace

Robin Wallace

Robin Wallace

Among the hub of Union Square, there is nothing I enjoy more than stepping into the tranquil and aesthetic oasis of Callalillai. Known for its Japanese inspired prints, Callalillai is an uber-feminine, chic and artsy clothing boutique. I love feasting my eyes on the designer’s rich lines, while feeding my soul on the reaffirming nostalgia of its vintage fixtures. Callalillai is the kind of place where I can lounge on their turn-of-the-century (to die for) settee as I gossip with my best friend about life-and-girl-stuff over a hot cup of tea.

827 Broadway, New York, NY
(212) 477-7377


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Tastmakers Choice: Nicki G

New York City can be an isolating place if you can’t find a sense of community.  Luckily, there are hometown bars spread across the city to cure those periods of chronic homesickness.  For San Francisco Giants fans, that bar is Finnerty’s pub in the East Village.  If the 10 ft high orange SF painted on the outside of the bar is convincing enough, walk into this hotspot during game time and you’ll see an ocean of happy Giants fanatics.  The bartenders and regulars welcome anyone with black and orange into the Finnerty’s family.  This bar on 2nd Ave between 13th and 14th St is a great place to kick back and reconnect with your favorite Bay Area ballclub, as long as you don’t bring along anyone in Dodger blue. Beat LA!

221 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10003-2702
(212) 677-2655

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