See the neon? That’s the entrance to Demi Monde, the new subterranean bar with half-sister ties to Death & Co. in the East Village. The ground-level space—where the windows are papered—will be a café powered by Handsome Coffee Roasters and opening sometime this summer. In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with liquor.
Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue, once explained to New York magazine why she switched from the Mercer to the Carlyle: “For me, it is best to be the youngest in hotel, and I was not having this feeling at the Mercer.” For me, it is best to be the most fun person at a staid bar than the least fun one at a rollicking one. So I figured that a rainy Monday at 5 p.m. would be the ideal time to visit Demi Monde; indeed, there was no one there yet.
The vestibule has a maitre d’ stand—or whatever you call a lectern if no one is lecturing—but no one working it when I arrived. The subway tile on the wall, combined with the stairs, made me feel like I was entering the subway, but the payoff was much grander. And far darker. “Good evening,” said the hostess stationed downstairs, who might have been Taylor Swift for all I could tell.
I showed myself to the bar, against the left-hand wall and outfitted with comfortable stools (upholstery and backs!). The bar part looks like an awesome hotel bar, possibly in Tokyo, but with thumping music. The rest of the black-and-red space is carved into various booths and nooks, which you can reserve—a nice touch. It reminded me of Temple Bar on Lafayette—although I haven’t been there in a decade—with a dash of SHO Shaun Hergatt. There’s also a 12-seat chef’s table where diners can have a nine-course dinner for $130 per person.
The menu lists 16 specialty cocktails, but I know better than to put anything called “Gun Metal” in my mouth. As a fan of celery soda, I was thrilled to see it among the homemade sodas, and even more thrilled to see spiking it with vodka or gin was an option. I ordered a celery soda with gin and some of the “Savory almonds with cherry wood aroma.” The drink was splendid; the nuts insanely addictive. I teased the bartender for bringing me a fork and spoon for the almonds, and he didn’t seem to mind. They’re all cute in that new-school bartender way, wearing suspenders or tie clasps or whatever, and I bet they could give great advice on where to eat in Greenpoint.
Will it become a douchepit? Only time—and the crowd—will tell. In the meantime, it’s far and away the coolest thing going in FiDi, and it’s a totally worthwhile field trip for anyone who lives in Tribeca (90 Broad is a 15-minute walk from Chambers and Broadway). One suggestion: Visit the restroom before you order a second drink.
UPDATE 5/22: I just realized that the menu on Eater doesn’t list the food. It’s mostly nibbly bits—caviar, negroni oysters, sashimi, tofu skins, bacon bun, cocktail chocolates—with the sole entrée-like item being a Wagyu strip steak ($42).
Demi Monde is at 90 Broad (at Stone), 212-248-7220; demimondeny.com.
Recent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
• Maslow 6 Wine Bar
• Salvatore Barber Shop
• Tribeca Blu
• Josh Bach
• Harry’s Italian
• HomBom Toys
• Matt Bernson