Welcome to Cocktail Hour

by Alan Philips
01.12.2010

            

Welcome to Cocktail Hour. I, Alan Philips, will be your weekly host and I am honored that you have taken a moment out of your over-saturated and hectic lives to join me for what is sure to be an exciting journey. Though my opinion and how it is expressed gets me in trouble regularly, we will have some fun with this – my first foray into regularly sharing opinions with you, my new mates on this journey.

Being culturally obsessed and generally OCD, I am an avid reader of newspapers, blogs, magazines; a constant consumer of media and a regular contributor to the hospitality and lifestyle landscape in Manhattan. I see myself, and this column, as a filter for those of you without enough time or energy to keep up with what is going on in Manhattan and other gateway cities around the world.

From where I sit, I don’t think that many people tell me the information that I really want to know. So often I read reviews from 50-year-old writers, with no access, telling me that this place is too loud and trendy, or this chef’s flavors are bold and too overdone. I want it loud, sometimes even trendy, and the average person can’t even appreciate the taste of sushi without sauces like spicy mayo and citrus yuzu. I read descriptions of clubs, including those featured on this website, that tell me “this is the ‘hottest’ and ‘most exciting’ place in the city,” though any self-respecting New Yorker hasn’t shown their face there in years. As young professionals, we don’t have the time to sift through bullshit. My goal will be to give it to you straight.

I will not be telling you that “Abe & Arthurs has an okay porterhouse compared to Lugers” or criticizing the place for serving Mark’s mom’s meatballs. The real point is that the restaurant is giving people what they want: a stylish and energetic hybrid of Blue Water Grill and Stanton Social. The food is quality and consistent and the location could not be more ideal for an evening out. The décor, though not groundbreaking, is laid out extremely well and any night you go check it out there will be plenty of good looking people and lots of action. Additionally, there is a club downstairs with as good a scene as most in this city, so it’s one stop shopping: a trendy department store for food, drink and scene. A&A’s is a nightlife version of Target, for hipsters, models and Japs. Proenza had a line at Target and Sean Penn once got dinner here, too.

As we know, our generation may be the “foodie” generation, but eating foodie food and drinking a boutique Cabernet blend without some good music and some entertainment is just mediocre. To be a good restaurateur or impresario you must understand the inherent need to be a showman. You better know how to cook a steak and also sell the sizzle.

So, without further ado, welcome to Cocktail Hour, where more often than not one drink turns into ten and no one knows where and when the night will end.

- AP

 

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