WHO TO TAKE: A JAZZ AFICIANADO OR THE PERSON WHO LOVES A SELECTION OF RARE AND WONDERFUL SPIRITS
When you are looking for a night out that’s totally classy with a side of jazz and fine spirits, this is your spot. I came across it one night when looking to kill an hour in midtown. After hitting a few very raucous spots typical of the area, I came across this jewel.
As soon as I walked through the door I knew I had found something special. Tinkling music from the piano and a sultry singer greeted me. Oooh. The room boasts a stage reminiscent of the Looney Tune cartoons intro from the 1940s, an illuminated concentric set of circles. (seen in the photo at the top of this post) They have live music every night, with no cover.
I was in the mood for a burger, and knew this would be the place to get one. The F&R Burger uses a Pat LaFrieda blend of short rib, brisket, prime sirloin, and adds an apple smoked bacon, aged cheddar served on a seeded brioche bun—with sweet & spicy pickles and truffle fries. Although I usually like my burgers without toppings (to just enjoy the meat and bun) this combo was excellent. We happened to get the corner table at the end of the line that faces the stage.
For those not so meat-oriented they have a few pastas. The Garganelli had a sauce of wild mushrooms and almond truffle cream, rich and satisfying as a burger! Right, their spirit collection is extensive and covers the walls from front to back, floor to ceiling. They carry an extensive collection of bottles in the scotch, bourbon, rye, tequila, mezcal, rum and brandy categories. Rare spirits include private bottlings of single malt Scotch, super rare pechuga mezcal, artisan cognac and armagnac, and limited release Tequilas. (will have to try a tequila next time!)
Since we got there on the early side (before 6) there were quite a few tables empty, but by the time we left it was filling up and quite lively.
Cocktails are definitely on the experimental side, as seen in the Garden of Eden, a mix of Gin Mare, 1724 Tonic, rosemary, thyme, olives, basil leaves, dried lemon wheel, and a juniper berry ice ball. Right, the Smoking Rye Old Fashioned makes an attention-grabbing entrance with Knob Creek Rye, Angostura bitters, demerara, and orange oil with your choice of smoke: hickory, maple, bourbon oak, or pecan. In addition, you can experience creatively infused foams and spirits matched with select barrels of whiskey and tequila.
What a treat to sit in lush environs, right in front of the stage and hear wonderful jazz standards. I’ve always loved movies from the 1930s, and this place really takes you back in time. That night we were serenaded by Tiphanie Doucet and band. And if you are looking for something wonderful on New Years Eve, get tickets to see trumpeter supreme Brian Newman with his band, at this link. Brian Newman’s band plays every Saturday night, and is an upifting performance. You will leave happy!
Fine & Rare, 9 E 37th St (betw Madison/5th Ave)