Smoking cigarettes or cigars hasn’t been allowed in New York City bars since 2003. But smoking cocktails? That’s encouraged. The Smoking Section, a new NYC bar, is offering a full menu of smoky spirits and cocktails touched in some way by fire.
Set within modern steakhouse Quality Meats, the Smoking Section is essentially a bar within the restaurant’s own bar room. It’s a small but comfortable nook (formerly a charcuterie bar) complete with a neon sign and all matter of smoking accoutrements like wooden pipes. The menu, developed by bartender Bryan Schneider, features not only peaty scotches and smoky mezcals, but also unusual offerings like smoked gin, smoked vodka and some lesser known agave-based spirits like sotol and raicilla.
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The cocktail list is not without its own smoky touches. There’s the BBQ Old Fashioned made with bourbon, bitters, demerara sugar and charred ice (layered, frozen burnt sugar syrup and hickory smoke). Or, for the smoky mezcal fans, there’s the Oaxaca Swizzel. The Campfire Cocktail (mesquite-smoked whiskey, marmalade, lapsang tea) comes served in a tiny, plaid thermos, so you can make believe your cozying up to a fire in the woods. Or, if you prefer something more dramatic, there’s the Cohiba, a mix of rum, sherry and Smoking Jacket bitters served in a glass filled with peachwood smoke. And that’s not all—Schneider still has a few more smoky tricks up his sleeves that we hope to see soon (there was talk of Angostura-flavored vapor when we stopped by).
The small bar only fits a few a time and doesn’t take reservations, so be sure to get in early and drink ‘em if you got ‘em.