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)