During one of the coldest months in recent memory, it takes a lot of incentive to venture multiple, winding blocks from the nearest subway, towards the unforgiving winds off of the Hudson River. But if Danny Meyer says 28th Street and 11th Avenue is the hot place to be, where the nearest inhabitant is a Porsche showroom, and the only other signs of after-hours life are the foolhardy souls braving the frigid temps on the High Line, well, so be it. Because when the King Midas of restaurateurs, behind worldwide phenomenon’s such as Shake Shack, and New York institutions such as Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern suddenly decides to open his very first cocktail bar, everyone stands up and takes notice.
So don’t be surprised if 11th Avenue in Chelsea becomes a drinking & dining destination, now that Meyer has launched Porchlight along with Blue Smoke managing partner, Mark Maynard-Parisi. Like the duo’s honky tonk barbecue joint, the come-as-you-are Porchlight has a laidback, Southern spirit, but instead of serving pit-smoked meats, fried chicken and seafood boils, offers a streamlined, easy-to-eat bar menu instead (Boiled Peanut Hummus, Frogs Legs, Beef Jerky) courtesy of chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois. They’re all designed to play second fiddle to the cocktails, of course, which currently include an expertly executed Sazerac, along with signature drinks such as the “Flagg Day” with Rittenhouse Rye, Cardamaro and orange liqueur, the “Gun Metal Blue” made with Mezcal Vida, Blue Curacao, peach brandy, lime, and cinnamon, and the Whiskey and Cola; Mellow Corn Whiskey and Fernet Vallet, charmingly served alongside a glass bottle of housemade cola syrup.
Once the bar’s build-out is finally complete, to include an actual porch decked out with couches and rocking chairs, it will be perfectly suited for sipping on a leisurely, sultry and (preferably summer) evening.