Monday, February 16, 2009

Little Branch

28. Little Branch
20 7th Avenue at Leroy Street

After circling around the block, calling my sister and using Google maps, we finally spotted the barely marked door on the street corner with a doorman that marks the entrance to Little Branch, an underground cocktail lounge that you would walk right passed if you didn’t know about it. We descended the stairs and approached the semi-crowded bar area to order the hot buttered rum from the suggested cocktails list, a drink made with rum, hot water, honey, nutmeg and a pad of butter. $13 seems to be the standard price nowadays for a cocktail at a nice lounge so I wasn’t surprised with the bill, though it pains me to spend that much on one drink. As we waited for our drinks to be prepared, we asked the hostess to see a menu; after all, there were several tables and we were interested in the bar snacks that were offered. After being handed the cocktail menu and explaining that we wanted to see a food menu, we were informed that the whole place is cocktails only. A forty minute wait for tables at a place that is cocktails only? It seems a little ridiculous but I imagine they must be doing something right if people are willing to wait for a table.

After slipping the bartender his cash-only fare, we took our first sips from the tall mug shaped glasses that were used, and were very pleasantly surprised. There’s definitely rum in there as you still taste a bit of the alcoholic sting but the honey and butter make me want to cozy up under a blanket on a cold day. It has a soothing effect reminiscent of drinking tea or hot chocolate on a snowy day. While $13 is plenty for a cocktail, Little Branch certainly has its merits. For starters, the hot buttered rum is worth dropping in. Second, the place feels exclusive but we walked right in, and the doorman didn’t stop guests that were wearing jeans and sneakers (maybe because it was only 9pm on a Wednesday?) It feels like a great spot for a quiet date or to impress out of town friends with a quick drink.

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