Angel’s Share is a hard place to find and it’s even harder to get a seat, unless you go early. It’s tucked into the back of a nondescript Japanese restaurant in the East Village near the corner of 3rd avenue and 8th street. There is a wooden door at the top of the stairs and the sole signal that it could even lead somewhere is a small sign informing you that they open at 6:00. That’s it, no signage, no advertising; just word of mouth keeps this place packed.
When you go through the door it’s as if you entered a different world. The interior is plush, with huge windows offering sweeping views of the street below. The atmosphere is very laid back and they mainly play soft jazz, which adds to the aura of serenity. It’s one of the coolest bars I ever been to, but they do have strict rules that you must abide by or they will ask you to leave. No parties of over four will be seated, there is a no standing room policy and if you’re loud you’re shown the door! While these may seem draconian and lead to long wait times, they’re part of what makes this place special.
I haven’t even gotten to the drinks yet, but they are also amazing. There is a leather bound menu of the dozens of original cocktails perfected by the Japanese bartenders with a short explanation accompanying each item. Using the word bartender is probably an insult to these guys. They are professionals, from their old school attire to the many homemade mixers and infusions. Making a drink is a work of art for them and it’s worth it to sit at the bar and watch them at their best. One of the more interesting drinks I tried was called “Take Five” and it was a mix of aged bourbon and sake with a hand carved chunk of ice, not two libations I would have never put together. The drink was incredible with a smoky sweet taste and aroma. They also have a small menu icluding sashimi, dim sum, fried oysters and Japanese sausage
This is the one place I visit every time I am in the city, but it’s not for everyone. If you want a beer or glass of wine try one of the hundreds of other bars in the area, and shame on you if you order a jack and coke. There are waits of over two hours on Saturday nights so I recommend going when they open and have a drink or two before dinner.