649 East Ninth Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 673-1190

The public sphere of the NYC cocktail/speakeasy scene has been dominated by the same few bars that GQ seems to bar-crawl year after year: PDT, Milk & Honey, Death & Company, Pegu Club, et al. Rare is it that you ever learn of the lesser-known establishments. They're there, but they aren't sexy enough to fit well into a PR/publications system that seems to inch closer and closer to payola with every passing day. Louis 649 is like the indie band that you learned about at a friend-of-a-friend's house but never hear on the radio.

Louis 649 is small, but not microscopic. They're not faux-hidden like Raines Law Room, but they're no bright Times Square Olive Garden, either. They have a relatively large menu with pages of various rums and whiskeys (over 30 of them, sold by the ounce) and beers and cocktails (a little something for everyone) and while that menu includes sandwiches and snacks, I'd probably eschew having any real "dinner" there. Louis 649 is virtually deserted until 10 (another customer was reading a book in the corner while I was there), at which point they fill up like a playground at recess. Get there early for a table. There's a relaxed casualness about Louis 649 that the other speakeasies don't have. The candles are dirty and the jazz played is smokey. It's like a dive bar with high end cocktails and microbrews, populated by a staff of bearded, plaid-wearing Oregonians. Our server, Shani, was clearly not a bearded, plaid-wearing Oregonian, but she was super nice, super unpretentious, and I feel the need to give her a shout out.

Bro and I arrived at around 830, initially worried that we would be fighting for a seat. But, like I said, they don't fill until 10, so sitting at a good table wasn't a problem. He ordered a sandwich (beef something-or-other) which he thought was decent. But it wasn't why we were here and in time, and after a few rounds, we left for a fried chicken feast at Redhead. No, we were here for some drinks. And of those there were a-plenty.

Round 1 (above): I ordered the Melee: gin, Meletti Amaro, Fino Sherry, and Cherry Heering liqueur combined to make a sweet, but not overly-so cocktail that tastes so little like anything alcoholic that, if not for the price, you could easily drink ten of them without even thinking about it. Bro went with the C.S. Louis: Rum, Batavia Arrack, lime juice, falernum. Another sweet drink made with two kinds of rum and spiced up with the falernum. Slightly sour.

Round 2 (below): Bro and I coincidentally stuck with the same color scheme. I ordered the A La Louisiane: rye, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud's bitters. Traditionally, a cocktail can only be a cocktail (instead of a mixed drink) if it contained alcohol, sugar, and bitters, so this hit the classic cocktail requirements square on the nose. The absinthe gave it that licorice/fennel taste that can be overwhelming. Here, it just have off a hint if that. The Benedictine rounded out the rye whiskey with some sugar and made it a bit lighter. Bro wasn't a big fan, but I liked it as something you can sit and relax while drinking. The Melee was good, but it was very nearly punch. Bro's choice was the Twentieth Century: gin, lilet blanc, lemon juice, and creme de cacao. Smooth and fruity with a little bit of a tanginess. While I liked both, Bro preferred this over my drink. They are two extremely different flavors, to be sure.

Finally, we rounded things out with a beer each from Colorado's Avery Brewery. A citrusy White Rascal for bro and an oatmealy Ellies Brown Ale for me.

Cocktails cost $13. Beers were around $7.

[ © Copyright eateryROW 2011 ]

Louis 649 on Urbanspoon

You Might Also Like



The contents of this website/weblog are the property of its author and are protected under the copyright and intellectual property laws of the United States of America. The views expressed within are the opinions of the author. All rights reserved.

Readers are free to copy and distribute the material contained within, but such external use of the author's original material must be properly attributed to the author. Attribution may be through a link to the author's original work. Derivative use is prohibited. The borrower may not alter, transform, or build upon the work borrowed.

The author is free to change the terms of this copyright at any time and without notice. At the written request by the borrower, the author may choose to waive these rights.