Last week we told you about Wilson & Wilson (505 Jones), the latest of two new ventures coming out of the Future Bars team that owns Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse — the first being the takeover of the 441 Club, temporarily titled Mr. Lew’s Win-Win Bar and Grand Sazerac Emporium. The Wilson, as it’s being called, opens to the public on Friday March 25, with branding like an old timey detective agency, and an even more haute atmosphere than its next-door predecessor. It’s the pet project of two Bourbon & Branch managers, Ian Scalzo and Jayson Wilde, who’ve been developing a bunch of signature tinctures and bitters for a few months in preparation. As owner Brian Sheehy tells Grub Street, "We’ve been in test mode for the last week or so, ironing out the kinks, because the place has a very high level of service." The deal is this: You make reservations here, separate from Bourbon & Branch, but you enter through the B&B; entrance. Every night there will be special cocktails on offer for $12 apiece, as well as a $30 prix fixe menu where you get to choose one cocktail from each of three categories: aperitifs, "mains," and digestifs/punches.
As Sheehy further explains, "A big part of the program are these in-house bitters and tinctures, like tobacco bitters, which go into a special Manhattan, and sarsaparilla tincture, which people have been raving about."
Alcademics paid a visit the other day, and spirits expert Camper English writes, "I had the Phantom, made with clove infused cognac, Stranahan’s whiskey, Cocchi Aperitivo, lemon, cacao and vanilla syrup, and orange bitters. So good."
Furthermore, you’re going to find a better class of booze behind the bar at the Wilson, primarily because of Future Bars’ retail venture, Cask. "We have access to a lot of allocated spirits that you won’t find in most bars," says Sheehy, "like Templeton rye, which is in huge demand, and we’ll have that as our well rye at the Wilson."
The concept is actually closer to what Sheehy and partner Doug Dalton had in mind when they first opened Bourbon & Branch five years ago, with a really low bartender-to-guest ratio (there’s only 20 seats available at any time at the Wilson), allowing the bartenders to be able to interact extensively and "go in really deeply with guests," as Sheehy puts it, about the drinks. "We really want to blow people away with the level of service," he says, and from the sounds of it, they will.
Reservations are already going fast for the opening weeks, so you might want to snag one if you’re into the firsties thing.
Wilson & Wilson - 505 Jones - Opening March 25