Rosemary and I recently made a trip to New York City. While we were there we decided to check out the Bourbon Bars in the city. We were not expecting a presence as vibrant as the scene in Louisville but were hoping for something better than we experienced in Boston in October. Louisville has a wealth of Bourbon bars with 50 or more Bourbons on the bar. These establishments make up the Urban Bourbon Trail. Even those bars not on the trail will have a dozen or so Bourbons on the bar. In Boston we found most bars had only two or three had Bourbons on the bar. The best place we visited had about 20 on their menu but were out of at least one of them. We wanted experience the New York scene to sample the Bourbon available there.
I knew there was at least one great whiskey bar in New York because I have been to the Flatiron Room before this trip. That was on our list places to visit. Checking into the hotel we found the Bourbon choices were more like Boston than Louisville at the hotel bar. Somewhat better but not impressive were the choices at the Gramercy Tavern and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bar. Finally we a trip to Maysville, a bar in the Flatiron district named for Maysville, Ky., and only a few yards from the Flatiron Room.
We got to Maysville in the period between lunch and dinner so the only customers were sitting at the bar. We found the bartender very knowledgeable and talented. I tried some New York craft Bourbons I had not seen before and Rosemary had a Manhattan made with Five Fathers Rye from Old Pogue, the only distillery actually in Maysville, Ky. They have a very impressive menu of Bourbons, ryes, Tennessee whiskey and other American whiskeys. Prices are reasonable for New York City with Ancient Age being $4 for a one ounce pour and $8 for Two ounces. Weller 12yo is $25 & $50 for the pours. They have many Bourbons and other whiskeys from New York Craft distillers along with most products from the large producers. A very good selection and well worth the trip.
After a side trip to Eataly to get Rosemary a chocolate gelato we proceeded to the Flatiron Room. I had done a Filson Bourbon Academy there back in 2014 and the bartender, Young Kim, recognized me. She had served me when I was last in the Flatiron Room and once again provided a cheese and meat board for Rosemary and I to enjoy with our Bourbons making the evening similar to my Bourbon and Food blog experience. The menu is excellent and the prices are reasonable with prices on a two ounce pour or a bottle. Buffalo Trace is $14 for a two ounce pour. The Flatiron room has places for people to purchase a bottle and store it on site for future consumption. The staff is very knowledgeable about what they have and eager to answer questions about products. Once again, a must stop for the Bourbon Enthusiast in New York. Make it a date night and go to both Maysville and the Flatiron Room.
The next day we went to American Whiskey, a bar on W. 30 Street. It is another excellent whiskey bar with a wide selection of Bourbons. The menu is extensive and indexed in many different ways. I wondered if they were trying to outdo Susan Reigler’s efforts in the Bourbon Tasting Notebook. Categories include topics such as “Rustic and Rich”, “Young and Grainy”, “Dry and Spicy”, “Light and Floral”, as well as indexes for Tennessee, corn and rye whiskeys. Prices are reasonable with Blanton’s being $13 for a one ounce pour and $22 for a two ounce pour. The bartender had some knowledge of Bourbon and other whiskeys and was eager to answer questions. This too, is a place I would go back to on another trip.
We did not make it to any other Bourbon Bars on this trip. We want to go to the Brandy Library on the next trip. Also Tommy Tardie who owns the Flatiron Room is opening another place called Fine and Rare on 37th Street. Rosemary and I got a sneak preview of the place and it looks like it will be fabulous but also specializing in all premium spirits, not just whiskey. Brandy, Rum, Tequila and other spirits will be found on the menu as well as whiskey. Definitely a place to visit the next time we are in the city.
New York has a decent Bourbon scene. There are several bars that are worth visiting that carry a wide variety of Bourbons. The next time you are in the city, stop by one of these places and tell them you heard about their bar on Bourbonveach.com!
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller and Michael Veach