>> 1/17/11

341 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-2545

Unlike many of the cities that occupy this globe upon which we all reside, New York has no lack of wine bars. From Cavatappo way uptown to 'inoteca way downtown to both Cavatappo and 'inoteca in Kips Bay, if you want a wine list you can find one. What separates The Immigrant from these two previous examples is intimacy. Not intimacy in any sort of romanticized sexual way, but intimacy in a cozy nook-and-cranny way.

Immigrant is hidden inside of ninth street between First and Second Avenues, behind nondescript signage and a fern. Walking inside, it's pitch black. I say that a lot, I know. But Immigrant may be the darkest liquor hole outside of Milk & Honey.

Dogz and I finished having dinner at Sigiri, a fantastic BYOB Sri Lankan place on 6th Street and headed a few blocks north to meet Bro. When we arrived at Immigrant around 9-ish, the three of us were among the only people there. By 9:30, it was crowded. So don't get there fashionably late unless you really like standing up.

One thing about Immigrant that separates it from many of the other wine bars you can choose to drink at is that they don't really have a wine list. At least not one that was shown to me. Instead, Immigrant has a list of wine. Reds and whites (and some beer), and you pick the type of wine you want. So they might have one or two pinot grigios or one or two malbecs and you either like what they offer or you don't. This means that you're putting a lot of trust in management for providing non-plonk, but hey, let's not kid ourselves. Most of the time, most of us don't couldn't judge a wine to save our lives. If it's not notably rancid or corked, it's acceptable. We don't know good vineyards or good years. Most of us like a particular type of wine without giving two shiznizzles about much else. Case in point, Two-Buck Chuck (side note, 2BC Chardonnay is heinous). In essence, Immigrant takes the angst and anxiety out of the process. If the wine I usually like sucks, I can blame Immigrant rather than my own gross ignorance.

The Immigrant also has a small plates menu to snack on while imbibing. Most of its food is Mediterranean-derived. Bro ordered a plate of baklava. It was good. Not amazing but a great snack to get you through another glass of wine without getting too foggy in the ol' brain. As I parenthatized, there is a beer list, albeit a small one. Don't show up expecting to get a full-on dinner or expecting to pound back an ice-bucket of Coronas with your compadres.

Immigrant isn't for large groups or parties and I'm willing to bet that coming here to meet other singles eager to picked up is probably gonna land you in the slums of dissappointmentville. However, come with a friend or two to shoot the breeze and get tipsy or come with a date. Come expecting that you'll be spending the entire time engaged with the people you came with. There's no dance floor to escape to, no meat-market vibe, no reason to be here if it isn't to relax and drink.

Beers cost about $6, glasses of wine cost around $10, bottles around $30 and and a plate of baklava came to... I forget.

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