MAD Bar is hiding in plain sight, a number of steps off Madison Avenue on East 38th Road in Manhattan. Quietly opened this winter inside the primary NH Hotel Collection property in North America, the plush blue velvet bar stools, curvy wooden accents and comfortable conversational seating really feel like a complicated escape from … effectively… all the things you wish to escape. There’s even a sunken front room/piano lounge. All of it completely channels a James Bond-Mad Males mixture of excessive design and excessive indulgence.
Whereas the numerous nooks and tables are inviting, I’d advise sitting on the bar. Head bartender Phil McKenna can combine you up an ideal martini or daiquiri, however the place he actually shines is in concocting a drink to fit your temper. For starters, ask him in regards to the bowl of citrus peels combined with sugar on the bar, and he’ll inform you the sugar extracts the oil from the peels, creating an intensely flavorful and bitter syrup known as oleo-saccharum. He at all times has a bowl occurring the bar, utilizing it to make a scrumptious mocktail simply by including soda water, in addition to to reinforce traditional drinks. He additionally deploys it in his personal innovations, just like the “Misplaced and Discovered” a mezcal-based sip he made up for a visitor who ordered it each night time they have been within the metropolis, vanished for 4 months, then returned and ordered it once more—demanding the recipe in order that they’d by no means be with out it once more.
With cabinets stuffed with attractive glassware, together with totally different pitchers for mixing totally different drinks, and one eye on a reasonably garnish, you would possibly suppose that McKenna is an Instagram star. However he doesn’t truck in social media in any respect. He prefers the human connection and it exhibits. Whereas there’s a drink listing, McKenna is happiest having a dialog, then arising with a drink to fit your temper— perhaps a peanut butter and jelly impressed drink to evoke childhood happiness, or a shiny new tackle a French 75. It would encourage you retain telephones in pockets whereas having fun with dialog and connection that has been in brief provide throughout the darkish days of the pandemic.
The bar is an interesting a part of NH Assortment’s Lobbies Alive idea—the place the foyer turns into an interactive expertise past simply check-in—fluffy chairs, giant artwork books, and lengthy tables invite lingering, working or studying. Two fireplaces take the nippiness off lengthy chilly March days. The one factor lacking is small plates —whereas awaiting the opening of Serafina Restaurant this summer time, bar snacks are restricted to nuts and engaging fresh-made popcorn. Meantime although, the area is all of the extra intimate and undiscovered — equally inviting for studying a e book, catching up with previous pals or making dialog with strangers. Or pouring your coronary heart out to McKenna and his group. They’re glad to pay attention —and luxury you with an ideal cocktail.
Can’t make it to New York? Placed on a superb mini gown, crank up the Nancy Sinatra and blend this cocktail.
Madison Avenue Basic
· 2 oz. Mount Gray Black Barrel Rum
· .75 oz. Cointreau
· .75 oz. of Lime Juice
· .25 oz. of Monin Pure Cane Syrup
· 2 dashes of Bitters
Shake all elements with ice, pressure right into a glass over recent rocks. Garnish with mint sprig and lime wheel.
MAD Bar, open seven days every week from 4 p.m. to midnight, is contained in the NH Assortment Madison Avenue, 22 East thirty eighth St., New York, NY