I was chatting with a doctor in a wine shop in NYC the other day, and out of nowhere she paused and asked me, “Is it over?” She meant the pandemic and its attendant indignities. I pointed out that, well, she was a doctor and I should probably be asking her that question. But the fact that she didn’t seem to know any better than I did seemed to me an encouraging sign.
Similarly salutary is the opening of Lullaby, on the Lower East Side, which bills itself as “a cocktail bar for everyone, where having fun doesn’t compromise excellent drinks.” I’ve rarely had trouble making those things work together, but I get it. Call this place the self-appointed banner waver for the Post Mixology world.
That’s been getting adjudicated everywhere in recent years—and yet Lullaby feels right for this moment. Holds just several dozen patrons. Dimly lit. Super stylish, but with a curated, tight menu of drinks and a couple of snacks, just in case. To wit, the list sketches out The Rum Drink, The Tequila Drink, and so on. Too much of that is too much, too—but that approach ain’t broke, when the drinks deliver. The namesake concoction is a stiff and nutty rye-based blend of sherry, amaro, and arrope—sort of a caramelized grape juice—that really hits the mark in this chilly, damp early spring.
This is not to say the place doesn’t indulge in a little bit of silliness. Lullaby, the PR folks say, is now “the first and only bar in New York City to exclusively carry organic and biodynamic wines transported via cargo sailboat.” This results in the glass-pour program obtaining net zero carbon emissions. I’m not against it.
Set in the former home of Nitecap—a similarly chill pandemic casualty—Lullaby is the brainchild of Harrison Snow, a Boston native, and Jake Hodas, a native New Yorker. They enlisted Boston bar legend Brother Cleve as well as star bartender Brian Miller, whose resume includes Death & Co., Pegu Club, and The Polynesian. All of which to say, the ingredients are all there, in every sense. You should be, too.