Behind an exterior of cured meats, bagels and smoked fish, the last thing you might expect to find is a full-blown cocktail bar, complete with everything from bitters and syrups to craft spirits and liqueurs from around the globe. Well, prepare to be pleasantly surprised: Delis across the country boast a boozy underbelly that’s as delightful as any classic deli dish.
One impressive deli bar serving up cocktails aplenty is Mamaleh's Delicatessen, which opened in 2016. The location focuses on traditional flavors and ingredients of Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Jewish-American cuisine. Don’t hesitate to pair your pickle plate and latkes with a Boyle Heights, a smoky Margarita served on the rocks with a pink pepper pastrami-spiced rim, or one of the other equally delightful cocktail menu items.
Deli Tavern also serves playful classic cocktail-deli mashups, including the Deli Old Fashioned (whiskey, AZ Sunshine & Figgy Pudding Bitters, demerara syrup, cold brew coffee).
New York, New York
Perhaps the most recent and most talked about deli bar to open is 2nd Floor, the cocktail lounge above famed 2nd Ave Deli in NYC. Whatever you’re hankering for—pierogis, herring, veal or lox—you’ll now have the option to pair your bites with drinks featuring ingredients you don’t often find in cocktails, like Manischewitz in the Man-o-Manischewitz (London Dry gin, mulled Manischewitz, lemon, cinnamon) or celery soda in the Upper Eastsider (vodka or gin, celery soda, ginger, lime, mint).