Bar of the Week: Elsa

Elizabeth Thompson

The year brought Elizabeth, Ella, Chloe, and here, rounding out 2008's trend of female bars and restaurants -- and possibly outshining her sisters -- comes Elsa, a new drinkery with Manhattans and on-the-spot tailoring services. Named after whimsical '30s fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, best known for introducing "shocking pink," i.e. hot pink, to couture, and her hats (Salvador Dali designed one for her in the shape of a shoe), the bar offers tailoring services in a tiny front room by day, and potent, kicky drinks by night. Formerly the Hanger Bar, a divey spot with sticky floors that sold vintage clothes, the owners have made several flattering alterations, recreating an airy little boîte with cream colored walls, whitewashed wood booths and, an old Singer sewing machine rigged into a beer tap that spouts Dogfish Head 60 Minute Ipa ($7). The drink menu was designed by Freeman's bartender Kevin Jaszek, and includes Elsa's Cocktail, a bright concoction made with Applejack, white wine, and lemon and orange bitters ($9), and the tart El Romero Borracho, made with tequila, grapefruit juice, Campari and lime. With a handful of $10 classics including martinis, margaritas and old fashioneds; a wine list with reds and whites ranging from $8-$15; and a sherry-topped vanilla gelato dessert, make Elsa ideal for nightcaps. A few of Schiaparelli's sketches line the walls, one detailing plans for strange gloves that look like hairy, clawed hands, but, unfortunately, aren't permanent -- the waitress said they would were hung slap-dash for their opening a few weeks ago, and would soon come down. Elsa's sartorial slant seems (and is) a bit much, but during a recent visit there wasn't a pocket square in sight -- only a quiet, candle lit space, nearly empty, where the suspendered bartender came around to sit in a booth with his friends and eat take out.

217 E 3rd St.,
(917) 882-7395

Photo from

Subscribe to Get More