New bars are always seeking to stand out from the crowd, especially in towns like New York where there are 3 drinking establishments on every block (not counting the liquor stores, with those there are 5).
The Andaz Hotel is a recent entry in the city’s Financial District, and they decided to rely on more than stiff Scotch cocktails to lure in the well-to-do business folks who populate the area. The name of their posh lounge – Bar Seven Five – is actually a bit misleading. Seven Five’s innovation is what it lacks. There are bartenders in the room, but there is no bar.
The tenders stand at counters that dot the space, and patrons can walk behind and around them. Drink pods, mixing stations – call the counters what you will. The cocktail staff also doubles as skilled mixologists. While the bartenders assemble some of the ingredients at their home base, many of the drinks are mixed tableside by the servers. The arrangement is certainly entertaining for the patrons, who can ask more questions about the particulars in their drink as they watch the server assemble the libation.
What are the bartenders doing with the time they would usually be whittiling away behind the bar? The open arrangement creates a convivial vibe between bartender and guest. Everyone is on equal footing, and much mingling ensues. It stands out from other city hotel bars. It’s more informal while being equally stylish, kind of like you are taking part in a cocktail hour at a swanky wedding reception.
Bartenders everywhere might shudder at having to come in such close contact with the guests, but the staff at Seven Five likes the arrangement. When it’s busy the servers are able to help out by slinging their own cocktails, and when it’s slow the bartenders can take extra time to walk around and check up on their guests.
While it’s unlikely that a rush of bar-less drinking spots will follow, this unique drinking environment is a nice change of pace. Bar Seven Five is located at 75 Wall Street.
James Mulcahy writes about spirits and New York nightlife at his blog,