ABOUTOwned and operated by indieFORK’s Matt Levine [whom previously owned & operated The Eldridge, Sons of Essex, #LESbeat, #HOOKxNAIL], opened in May 2014, The Handy Liquor Bar is named after 1800’s New Orleans bar keeper and mixologist Thomas Handy, who is known as one of the first expert barman in the United States and created what we know today as “America’s First Cocktail,” the Sazerac cocktail. Before his death in 1889, Handy recorded the recipe for the cocktail and the drink made its first printed appearance in William T. "Cocktail Bill" Boothby's 1908 "The World's Drinks and How to Mix Them." The original Sazerac cocktail, as first created by Thomas Handy, now lives on 527 Broome Street at The Handy Liquor Bar.
According to Levine, The Handy Liquor Bar “combines an authentic atmosphere of timeless comfort along with classic cocktails, great music and old-school NYC vibes.”
OVERVIEWHead barkeeper’s and mixologists, Albert Dempompeis & William Bastian, known for experimenting with new distilled spirits and mixers, have created a time-honored cocktail list inspired by the classics. Textbook cocktails such as the Dry Martini, Gimlet, Manhattan, Mint Julep, Old- Fashioned and of course the Sazerac with a modern twist will make appearances on the menu. All cocktails are composed of freshly squeezed juices along with the use of unique bitters, garnishes, homemade syrups and seasonal succulents for creative twists on our timeless classics. The cocktail list at The Handy will is “focused on the classics, quality and simplicity.”
The wine list features such wines as 1995 Chateau Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend, 2003 Vega Sicilia "Unico" Ribera del Duero, 2004 Sine Qua Non 2003 Bond "Vecina" Napa, Valley Red Blend and 1991 Bodegas Riojanas Viña Albina Reserva Rioja.
The Handy Liquor Bar offers a "small plates and snacks" menu from the adjacent Chalk Point Kitchen helmed by Michelin Star & Rising Chef Award Recipient, Executive Chef Joe Isidori along with Chef de Cuisine, Blue Hill and Mas Farmhouse vet, Chef Frederick Schoen-Kiewert. Appetizers and Snacks include Classic Oysters Rockerfella (with a hint of Madras Curry) and Warm Black Truffle and Gruyere Tea Sandwich (served with Pomme Frites).
Levine commissioned celebrated designer Chien Dao, the architect behind The Crown, The Lion, MoMa Curator Loft, Jade Jagger Building and Levine’s past restaurant, Sons of Essex, to design The Handy Liquor Bar. Dao sums up the design elements for The Handy Liquor Bar as "authentic NYC, classic SoHo, music influenced, restored and timeless." Dao's use of classic moldings, custom rosettes and trims shows his dedication to detail. Dao describes the furniture balance of custom marble table tops, persian rugs, victorian armchairs, plush leather couches and the chesterfield tufted banquets a "design for unpretentious luxury, sophistication and comfort." Along with classic Jazz memorabilia, vintage cocktail leather bound books, mix and match antique frames line the ceiling to contrast the auburn and burgandy color theme.
Many of the photos lining the mahagony wood walls are from the Summer of 1977 in New York City. They are authentic and original photos that appeared in a New York Music Magazine called "Rock Scene" from various acclaimed music photographers of the time. Most are by legendary New York City photographer, Bob Gruen, including candid portraits of Blondie, Michael Jackson, New York Dolls, and Patti Smith. Actor, author, and art enthusiast, Hill Harper purchased the entire archive all of the magazine issues and all 630 original photos that appeared in the magazine for four months in the summer of 1977. Many of the photos are from two legendary art and live music venues in New York City, Max's Kansas City (a favorite hangout for Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and The Ramones), and CBGB's.
The Handy Liquor Bar features a 1950's Wurltizer Baby Grand Piano to accompany a vintage Wurtilzer Jukebox playing Jazz, Funk and Motown vinyl's, featuring records from such icons as Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane,Louie Armstrong, and Miles Davis.
Platform International, a construction team known for building out international art fairs and festivals such as Frieze Art Fair, Scope Art Fair, and Untitled Art Fair quietly built out the cocktail bar and lounge in between Art Seasons, along with seasoned contractors, John Ferguson and John Morrow. This was Platform’s first restaurant. Platform's list of exclusive art displays include Matisse, Picasso, Warhol and Basquiat.