On a quest for trendy drinks, my friend and I found ourselves in one of the least trendy areas of New York City; Murray Hill. The home to many post-college graduates, isolated from the subway and lots of dive bars, my friend, Jana, found a spot that was unlike the rest. Middle Branch. The trendy, underground speakeasy and sister bar to the trendy spots, Milk & Honey and Little Branch, attracts an attractive crowd. The dimly lit downstairs with standing room only, serves as the waiting area for the coveted seats upstairs. The restaurant is dark, with exposed brick, fake small candles lining the tables and beautiful small flower arrangements serve as the only decorations.
At first glance, the drink menu seems limited, with only five bolded selections. However, at the bottom “bartenders choice,” allows for endless possibilities. At a drink only restaurant, you know the beverages have to be good. Jana and I went up to the bartender and he asked us what kind of liquor and types of drinks we prefer. I said I enjoy rum (it wasn’t a tequila kind of a night) and have an addiction to seltzer for that essential fizz. Jana said she enjoyed gin and something not too fruity. We backed away and watched the bartender work his magic.
The bartender poured the finishing touch of seltzer on top of my drink and drizzled something on top of Jana’s and handed our drinks to us. Simultaneously, almost as planned, our table was ready upstairs. We walked up, drinks in hand and sat down on a comfy bench to enjoy our drinks.
Mine ended up transforming into a Rum, Ginger Fizz. Jana’s was called the Bee’s Knees, with Gin and Cinnamon.
The drinks were delicious. Mine had a strong taste of ginger, causing me to hardly even taste the rum. The sweet fizz of seltzer balanced it out. One of the coolest parts I discovered towards the end of my drink was the giant, full length single ice cube cooling down my drink. I couldn’t have thought up a better combination of flavors if I tried.
Middle Branch would be the perfect third date spot or in our case, a perfect night of catching up with a friend. If the experience wasn’t great enough at the end of the meal with our bill, they gave each of us a little shot, honey suckle, to end the meal. It more like a miniature drink then “shot.”
The perfect little way to end our drinks. The place was so cute and trendy. I would definitely be back. If you live in the neighborhood, this is a perfect place for a drink and funkier night out then the plethora of dive bars in the area.
Middle Branch – 154 East 33rd Street – New York, NY