It happened quietly last week, but Alphabet City fixture Baraza has been transformed into a soft-spoken hideaway with Minetta Tavern–style venetian blinds in the window. As it so happens, the man behind the bar, Greg Seider, helped create Minetta’s much lauded drink list, and before that he made drinks for Mercer Kitchen, the Box, and Lot 61. Seider has teamed with a fellow Mercer Kitchen alum, Hamid Rashidzada (who also has a hand in Esperanto, down the street), and the two are treating Summit Bar as both their laboratory and their living room. At the moment, the drinks consist of some $9 classics and a few $12 originals, including an orange juice, cardamom agave, and yuzu cocktail spiked with twelve-year-old Yamazaki whiskey (just one of the relatively rare sipping spirits they hope to offer at a reasonable price). By the end of the week, several more drinks will be added — hopefully including our favorite, a “margarita” that resembles a light, zippy gazpacho, thanks to cucumber, red pepper, and jalapeño. (See the expanded menu, below). Also in the works: a rye-bread-inspired rye-whiskey old-fashioned made with caraway-seed-infused bourbon.
To make sure the cocktails aren’t compromised by crowds, the narrow bar plans to limit capacity to 60 (anyone who’s turned away will receive a text when space opens up), and on weekends the door will be tightened after 2 a.m. or so. Even so, keeping up with demand may prove tricky at first, since certain herbs are still growing on Seider’s rooftop garden and since he’s still working on sourcing other ingredients such as the edible Ecuadoran rose petals that Ferran Adria favors (though Seider prefers clean, crisp flavors over molecular mixology, he is working on encapsulating a porcini mushroom for his version of a dirty martini). The food program, which currently consists of charcuterie and cheese from Murray’s, will also grow. During the winter, the small back patio will be heated and tented, and come summer, there’ll be a communal-style brunch, barbecues featuring some of the duo’s chef friends, and, get this, an “employees-only” Jacuzzi.
Summit Bar menu [PDF]
The Summit Bar, 133 Avenue C, nr. 8th St.; no phone