Friday, April 22, 2011

Tijuana Bible, please.

After years of research - painstaking devotion really - I think I've finally found my favorite bar in New York City.

I know. Those are big britches to fill. But (lets just say)lots of cocktails, beers, shots, beer and shot combos, additional beer and bad decision combos, happy hours and late nights weighed into this final verdict.

Before I make any announcements I must also note that there's really a bar for every occasion in this great city. It's hard to pick one favorite because it depends on the drinker's mood, needs, company, etc. The great happy hour spot with frozen margs may not be appropriate for date night or I-have-friends-visiting night or We-just broke-up-and-I-want-whiskey-tonight night.

So when I say "favorite" I mean overall favorite- a consistently cool scene with a delicious beverage menu.

Drum roll puhlease, my favorite bar (at least for now) is Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Seems I had to travel to the far east (first stop off the L train from Manhattan) to find this wonderful little watering hole. Like all things in Williamsburg, it's pretty hipster. The bartenders are tattooed and stuffed into skinny jeans. I did spot a pompadour during my last visit. But, I promise the good makes up for the fedoras. And by good I mean cocktails. It's one of those schmancy mixologist bars where drinks are infused with elderflower, orange peels are zested and mortar and pestles are flipped around like forks.

The cocktail list is a little overwhelming (as everything looks fantastic) so I made the bartender pick my first drink. "I just don't like bitters" were my instructions. He served me an icy cold Cleopatra's Pearl: apricot and peach blossom liqueur, fresh lemon and Egyptian mint infused vodka. Tart, subtly sweet and crisp; it was a very good first impression.

Next visit, I demanded some tequila. The Tijuana Bible, specifically. Hotel Delmano doesn't put their cocktail list on the Internet and I'll admit my memory of this delicious spirit's exact ingredients is a bit fuzzy, but I can tell you it combined mescal, jalapeno and orange. The glass was lined in chili powder that may have burned a layer off my tongue but I was into it.

The bar offers a vintage Parisian vibe- dark wood, fogged mirrors, a long curvy bar cluttered with bottles, jars and blinking votive candles dripped over with wax. The DJ, on clunky turntables, plays old-timey French and Latin music. I was told a traditional Cuban salsa group sets up a few times a week too.

Hotel Delmano is cool but still cozy. Sophisticated but not exactly pretentious. The bartenders might take themselves a smudge too seriously, but the drinks they pour are impressive so I'll keep visiting. And you should too. For the sake of good research, of course.


  1. Where was this post when I was looking for a pre-show beverage three weeks ago, Banessa? Where?!

  2. Ahem, someone needs to quit slacking... I miss your blog.

  3. Primita I love your blog, want to be there with you. Write more soon orangenita.