Going To New York? Make Sure You Stop Off At Employees Only

This NYC West Village spot is famous for its cocktails. And rightly so


by Debrief Staff |
Published on

Heading to New York this summer on hols? This week we took our bar review global by visiting 'Employees Only' for the best cocktails from across the pond.


When we rolled up to West Village cocktails spot Employees Only we were a little suprised to see a dorrman with a clipboard, checking names off a list. It's one of those places where you absolutely need a reservation, and if you don't have one, there's a chance you won't even make it past this guy. It's not really a 'pop in for a drink' type of place on a busy Friday night. Once we got past the door, it was already pretty much full, both at the front in the bar area and in the back, where they have a full menu and waiter service. We were after a low-key chatting spot and a quick bite to eat, so we headed for the back.

What’s the story with the food?

You don’t have to eat, but at 7pm on a Friday it’s nice to have something more than a bowl of nuts, so we really appreciated the charcuterie and cheese boards. They offer an extensive, creative menu, famous for their bone marrow poppers (essentially vol-au-vents with bone marrow). The surprise hit of our order was the arugula salad with shaved asparagus, parmesan and preserved lemon vinaigrette. It takes an exceptional salad to be a memorable one but they’ve done it here. When was the last time you got excited about a salad? Exactly. This one is delish.

What about the drinks, though?

Talking about the food is kind of beside the point, anyway, since Employees Only is famous for its cocktails. And rightly so. As St. Germain aficionados, we kicked things off with the Amelía: vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, shaken with puréed blackberries and fresh lemon juice. This drink is springtime in a coupe. Next, we hit up the Ginger Smash, which again was perfection: muddled ginger root and fresh pineapple shaken with rum, maraschino liqueur, apple liqueur and fresh lime juice served over ice. Insanity. Only for the fact that we had late dinner plans elsewhere, we would have had several more of these.

**Who comes here? 

Friday after work is a real mix. Groups of straight single men and women at the bar, couples and double dates in the back, as well as groups of gabbing gays and girls. Basically, a chic New York cocktail crowd. How expensive is it? 
Cocktails are $15 and $16, which isn’t cheap but they are truly impressive creations, made by super-talented mixologists who put so much love and artistry into each drink you can taste it.

To put it in a nutshell…

If you live for a delicious cocktail, appreciate the option of a stool at the bar OR a table for food then you will really like this place.

For more great cocktail recipes you can make at home download the Mixed Cocktail app.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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