BlackTail New
22 Battery Place
(at Pier A)
212-785-0153
blacktailnyc.com
Bar, Cuban
More casual than fancy

Peter Poulakakos’s reinvention of Pier A included a second-floor bar, the Harrison Room, that didn’t take off. So he brought in Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of the Dead Rabbit to convert it into a bar, BlackTail, themed to the idea of Prohibition-era Havana. (The name BlackTail comes from seaplanes that used to fly between New York and Cuba.) The proprietors got rid of the stodgy carpeting and chairs, making it feel less like the bar at the New York Athletic Club, and added vintage photos and plants; the windows have been covered or blocked with shutters, so you won’t be reminded of present-day Manhattan; and the staff is dressed in guayabera shirts and fedoras. The menu, meanwhile, is literally a book, not just with drinks and food but also a short story. (Perhaps to get you through it, you’re given a dollop of frozen daiquiri as an amuse-bouche.) What really makes BlackTail stand out is how civilized it is. The bar has its own entrance on the Pier A plaza, with a dedicated staircase. You tell the host outside the size of your party, and he lets you know when a table or seats at the bar are available. The big benefit of this set-up is that there’s no crowding inside the bar, and noise is kept at a respectable level. Note: The menu includes a vintage-style postcard that the bar will mail to anywhere in the world. And there’s occasionally live Cuban music.

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