Bars rarely receive pre-opening buzz remotely equaling that of restaurants. But The Office is not your average bar, and the great Grant Achatz is definitely not your average bar owner.
The world renowned, oft awarded chef behind Chicago’s Alinea and Next, he translated his mind-bendingly innovative, ultra-modernist style to a cocktail den called the Aviary, slated to open a sister location in NYC’s Mandarin Oriental later this summer. But while the city waits with baited breath for $195 tasting progressions of liquor that macerates while you drink it, and frozen balls of whiskey, released with a harpoon, Achatz and team has made their long-awaited Big Apple debut with an adjunct speakeasy called The Office. Which (as far as the high concept hospitality group is concerned), is more of a watering hole for the common man.
Make that the deep-pocketed common man; you’ll need to plunk down an initial $20 simply for access to a la carte drinks, or the $295 “Office NYC Experience,” which includes food, champagne, and four bespoke, bartender-selected cocktails. As for those tipples, they’re more straightforward than what you’ll find at the Aviary (think an Old Fashioned with strawberry, orange oil and multiple fernets, and a Tequila Grapefruit accented with horseradish and lapsing souchong tea), but they’re undoubtedly geared towards high rollers; an innocuous sounding Amaretto Sour includes black truffles, smoked sea salt, and 70-proof cynar.
But what do you expect, when the contents of the liquor cabinet amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, thanks to a collection of extremely rare bottles, like Old Fitzgerald 1969, the last pre-phylloxera cognac in the world? And considering Achatz himself oversees food, this is hardly a destination for chicken wings, burgers and beer nuts; $65 garners four ounces of lush jamon iberico, while $40 covers prime ribeye tartare, with mustard aioli.
So a budget bar The Office certainly ain’t, although you’ll at least save yourself the cost of a plane ticket to Chicago.
80 Columbus Circle