Despite its name, Nitecap is actually an admirable place to start your crawl--provided you don't expect to get very far.
The heavy velvet curtain at the entrance takes an effort to pull open, but it's the quality of the drinks that keep you here long after you'd meant to call it a night.
Nearly two years in the making, the cozy cocktail den, situated beneath Schapiro's on the LES, is the brainchild of David Kaplan and Alexander Day, both partners in the reputable Death + Company, and Natasha David of Brooklyn oyster palace Maison Premiere.
Cocktails are mixed behind the seven-seat bar. From left to right: the Way Back When, the Moon Suit and the Green Thumb
Drinks run the gamut from early evening spritzers to late-night slugs, but the list is focused and playful. The Way Back When ($12) combines spiced brown butter-washed rum, sherry and pecan bitters in boozy homage to the German Printen cookie, while the Green Thumb ($13), a sea-foam green spritzer with cachaça, fennel and Sapin liqueur, is softened with creamy egg white. The Moon Suit ($13) is a three-brandy and absinthe play on the Sazerac and is as transporting as the name suggests.
The room--all twinkling candle light and low-slung booths--encourages hunkering down. As the subway rumbles beneath your feet, imagine what comfort might come from a soft, quilted throw.
Did they dim the lights again? They did.
When, eventually, you do make your way back through that heavy velvet and onto the street, check the time. It's bound to be later than you'd expected.
Time well spent.
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