Nestled in the corner of a small plaza across from the Fiume Tivere, Rome, is Studio 9, a gently colored, vine covered building, charmingly blended into its surroundings. The sign is unobtrusive and, at first glance, the interior is similarly unassuming, but slowly, it becomes obvious that this is not simply a studio. A large table, surrounded by glass cabinets, is in one room; the other room greeted me with a wooden desk, a small but impressive bar, and the most astounding wall covered in shelves of every spirit, liqueur, and flavor imaginable. A woman and a man with a mustache rushed to greet me in an excited mix of Italian and English.As I would soon learn first hand, Antonio Parlapiano was responsible for bringing the bartending and cocktail scene to Italy through the Jerry Thomas Project, an endeavor he and some bartenders friends started only six years ago. I was lucky enough to meet with him on a trip to Italy, and although the bar itself was closed for a small expansion project, we met in Studio 9, where the team conducts seminars, training sessions, and a wide array of exciting events.
Trattoria Il Mulino, the newest New York branch of Il Mulino New York, is attractively situated on Manhattan’s busy 20th street, halfway between Broadway and Park Avenue South. Its impressive exterior is easily matched by the elaborately decorated back wall, covered floor to ceiling in a remarkable black and white Tim Barnard mural. As much as I wanted to study every ink line of the artist’s fantastical take on classic Manhattan icons, I found myself wandering over to the bar, where Logan was eager to start me off with a drink. We went with the Old Fashioned – the smoothest I’ve ever had, topped with a perfectly curled orange rind, and got to talking.
I met Masa on a warm Friday afternoon. Dressed in a grey sweater over a crisp white button down, he looked the part of a serious, no-nonsense worker, but his mischievous smile quickly disavailed me of that notion. He is a professional, certainly, both in talent and demeanor, but it was his charm and his eagerness to please that drew me in, almost more than his nearly endless repertoire of cocktail knowledge.We spoke for nearly two hours in the Saxon + Parole dining room, the mid-afternoon sunlight seeping brightly into the space, as Masa told me about his past, his future, and why he will never stop sharing deliciousness.
Artfully tucked into a row of brownstones, it might be easy to miss the East Pole, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar noted for bringing the best of downtown scene to the Upper East Side. But as the invariable evening coterie begins to gather, an air of anticipation snakes across 65th street, making the sophisticated spot suddenly impossible to miss. Inspired by a unique juxtaposition of local conscientiousness and a fascination with nautical themes of travel, the East Pole is carefully crafting a new experience in Manhattan’s north.
The crisp breeze as as evening falls on downtown Water St. has a special vibe, not unlike that of Dead Rabbit, a unique multi-layered bar in the Financial District. Fashioned in the style of the 19th century Irish-American saloon scene, it boasts both a taproom and a parlor, and some of the best bartenders in the business. We met up with the award winning Pamela Wiznitzer before a Friday night shift.