116 Macdougal St nr Minetta Ln, NYUtown aka The Village
The Place: I first heard of The Up and Up from one of my fab friends at work who said it was a great place to go as a solo lady. Also they got this killer review from The New Yorker which solidified it as a place I had to check out.
The Time: Thursday April 7, 6:30pm. I was seeing Exit Strategy at the Cherry Lane Theater (also GO SEE THAT SHOW), so I wanted to find a watering hole nearby, and since I had my sights set on The Up and Up, it was a sign from the cocktail goddesses that I had to go to there.
The Vibe: Dive bar feels meets cocktail bar quality meets one of the friendliest establishments I’ve ever been to. I descended the stairs and was greeted by a lovely man in a newsboy cap who asked how big my party was or was it just me, without any condescension! I made my way to the bar and was instantly welcomed by the bearded bartender (Jacob), the pigtailed bartender (Katie) and another guy named Rafa. I put my feminist book on the bartop (Where the Girls Are by Susan J. Douglas), and I was instantly swept up in “oh how do you like it?” and “have you ever read any Ruth Rosen?” and “are you studying for your masters or are you just a nerd like me?” Before I even ordered a drink, I knew these folks got me. There’s no standing room allowed (hence the door policy), which means that there was never a chance of anyone lingering over me to try to steal my bar stool. PLUS on the menu, under their few “Decorum” policies was, and I quote, “Gentlemen are kindly asked not to introduce themselves to ladies.” I FOUND MECCA.
The Drank: Zuzu’s Petals, a tequila cocktail which was everything I want a margarita to be: good tequila, lime, ginger, habanero for some extra zing, rose water for fragrance and a little demerara sugar to bring everything together. Jacob and I discussed the importance of terrific drink names, and this place had some of the best I’ve heard: One-Star Yelp Review, Watching Cool Runnings, Dad’s Manhattan, Peat’s Dragon, just to name a few. My second drink wasn’t on the menu, one of Jacob’s concoctions, The Red Herring: aquavit, hot sauce (cholula, god bless ‘im), lemon, cucumber, magic. They killed it in the drank department.
The Bartender: I feel like I’m repeating myself, but Jacob and Katie were so awesome. So was Rafa. So was newscap door guy. We chatted about a ton of different things: sexism in the service industry, SoulCycle vs. biking, the clowns vying for the Republican nominee, where we’re from. Katie’s from Kentucky. Jacob is from Wisconsin AND HIS LAST NAME IS CHEDDAR (spelled crazily, but pronounced “cheddar.” You can’t make this shit up.)
Was I Hit On? No! Because it’s literally in the rulebook that I can’t be! I cannot believe this bar is in the middle of NYU town – there was not a single 18 year old dumbass in the place and I was so grateful.
Should You Drink Here Alone? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The Up and Up is a haven for anyone who wants to avoid the monstrosity that exists in that neck of the woods. But I’ll also travel to go to this bar again. So should you! And when you do, tell Katie and Jacob and Rafa I say hey.