Proprietors LLC‘s Alex Day and David Kaplan (along with Death & Co. owner David Blatt) have done it again with their new Demi Monde cocktail bar, a unique venue that will not only showcase their well-crafted cocktails and fabulous sense of style and bar ingenuity but this coming summer it’ll also be the new brick-and-mortar shop for Handsome Roasters, serving coffee during the daylight hours. Kickass coffee bar turn kickass cocktail bar? Yes, please!
The bad news for us Angelenos, however, is that this gorgeous bar is in New York City, the Financial District to be exact. And since I couldn’t make its opening reception last night, I sent in my sister, Jennifer (aka Schmennifer) who lives in NYC.
Unfortunately we were told that no photography was allowed and that the official photos won’t be available til TWO weeks after the event. Thankfully their PR sent me the above photo so you can get a sense of its grandeur but you can see even more on photographer Danny Krieger’s Web site.
No menu was made available to us either but fortunately New York Magazine has it if you’d like to give it a look-see. And if you’re desperate for cocktail porn, a shot of one of the cocktails can be found on TimeOut New York.
Below are my sister’s raw notes and opinions about the party. If you live in New York, check out the bar and give us your take in the comments!
Demi Monde New York Opening Party Report
Red wall panels on half of main room, and some weird shiny grey pattern on the other half. When we walked in, I overheard one of the hostesses talking to some guy about the rope partitions. She said, “The rope is made from [something something that doesn't ring a bell].” It was hard rope, like you’d find outdoors or on a pirate ship, not macrame or anything. It didn’t seem to match the rest of the room, but whatever.
The tables in the center all had reserved signs on them. I walked toward them and noticed a woman approaching me, about to say something. I figured she was going to tell me I couldn’t sit there, so I said, “Can I look around?” And she said, “Sure!” There was a large round chandelier in the center of the room with teardrop glass dangly things. I think the chandelier can be described as two-tier, but the smaller tier was nested in the larger one. There was a similar smaller version at the back of the room, where we first sat. That area had maybe about 10 small tables, leather benched seats along the wall, cube stools, and a large lit case of Absolut vodka. We left that area and sat closer to the bar (near the seats with the rope partition) because I figured we’d need access to more drinks.
When I took a closer look at that menu on Eater, I realized that the drinks they were making last night were all four of the house sodas. So I did get to taste the Pineapple Coconut Egg Cream after all. I don’t know why they featured these drink more than any of the others. It made me think of “Parks and Recreation” when one of the characters says “Clear alcohol is for rich women on diets.” Fourteen-dollar soda drinks are for rich women on diets too. [CoC's note: Funny enough, $14 cocktails are de rigeur in L.A.] Anyway, here’s the rundown.
- Strawberry Tarragon Soda $6 ($14 with gin, vodka, rum, or tequila): The bartender recommended this with tequila, so we went with that. It was good. No complaints there. We had this at the same time as the pineapple & coconut soda. David liked this one better because it was sweet and tart, and not overwhelming in either direction. It was refreshing.
- Celery Soda $6 ($14 with gin or vodka): We had this with gin. Blech! Do not get. It was soooo sweet. And not just sweet for a celery drink, but sweet for any drink. This was the only one we didn’t finish. I even gave it several chances, but it was syrupy. Think of celery-flavored simple syrup. It was like that, but slightly bubbly.
- Grapefruit Soda $6 ($14 with gin, vodka, bourbon, or tequila): They were handing these out at the door (along with champagne, which we didn’t take). The one at the door was made with gin, and it was nice and refreshing as well. But at the end of the night we ordered one with bourbon (because this was the only one of the sodas offered with bourbon according to the Eater menu) and it was full of win! Best drink of the night. Maybe it’s because we’re addicted to bourbon, but I loved it and would pay good money for it.
- Pineapple Coconut Egg Cream $6 ($14 with gin, vodka, rum, or tequila): The bartender recommended rum. It was good, but pretty much a pina colada. Sweet, but not disgusting. I wonder if I would have been more enthusiastic about it with a non-sweet spirit. Or with no spirit.
I asked them if the appetizers they were handing out were offered on the regular menu. The server said they weren’t (she was passing out cubes of honeydew melon in a Thai spice–very hot), but she said that there were similar items on the menu.
There were also small bowls of spiced almonds on some tables, caramel popcorn, and french fries with a scotch ketchup. You can really taste the scotch in the ketchup, but it didn’t really add anything. Maybe if you can’t get enough scotch into your body in between sips of actual scotch, it’d be perfect. I think it would have been better with bourbon or even rye. Instead, it was just peaty, iodine-y ketchup.
It’s probably weird to write about the bathroom. But there were several stalls that were basically just small rooms with one toilet each. They weren’t labeled for any particular gender. And they were so private that we imagined these Wall Street types could feed their coke habits whenever they wanted. People could also probably have sex in there. [CoC's note: No, we are not condoning this behavior.]
Anyway, it might be worth noting that this is the business district with pretty much only bankers and business people. And about 90 percent of those people are douchebags. [CoC's note: Jennifer is, of course, talking about the Financial District crowd and not the bar crowd at this opening party.] Death & Co., with its East Village location, gets more artists, students, hipsters, etc. Granted, those people can also be douchebags. But Wall Street types are their own unique level of douchebaggery.
Demi Monde was a bit clubby. Loud music, unlike other cocktail bars with that kind of focus on cocktails, but could have just been for the party. I could see a lot of suits going there after work. Doesn’t seem to be laid back enough for, say, summer crowds coming back from Governor’s Island. There does seem to be a shortage of good cocktail places in that area, so maybe it’ll also get the restaurant workers.