• 296 Bleeker Street
• New York, NY 10014
• (212) 675-6157 •

The modern speakeasy doesn't have a password, but it doesn't announce its presence either. With its website, recipe books, constant press, and completely public listing in the yellow pages right where any self respecting shamus could find it, Death & Company is hardly hidden. But the odds are that the first time you go, you'll miss it. The Garret does it one better. To get into The Garrett, you walk into a completely nondescript Five Guys Burgers & Fries, walk all the way to the back and turn up a stairwell. It's somewhat amusing to see people eating 1000 calorie greaseburgers looking on with some confusion as a stream of well-dressed folks wander inside, bypass the food line, and disappear in the back.

My amusement ended there.

There are a precious few things that I take non-prurient pleasure in. Crisp fall air. Mystery novels. Thunderstorms with lots of thunder. Included on this list are cocktails and the bars that know how to serve them. The Garrett was supposed to be that kind of place, serving that kind of thing.

I took Bro to The Garrett because, as I said, I get a kick out of its kind of place. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, figuring that we'd be able to avoid standing on a line if we arrived early in the day. The music was funky but chill, there were quite a few seats at the bar, and there was an eclectic group of people hanging out, chatting with friends. We ordered some drinks. Good ones. The bartender, who looked more like a skateboarder than a speakeasy drink slinger, knew his business and we didn't once feel ignored or forgotten. But, in short order, the atmosphere shifted. The crowd grew, the music got louder. Before we knew it, the Garrett stopped being a cocktail lounge.

Two of the lowest forms of city denizen are Finance Brah and Arm Candy Girl. They're locusts that swarm into an area and rape it of its charm. Finance Brah, with his wannabe GQ Brylcreem haircut doesn't order a Paper Plane (bourbon, amaro, Aperol, lemon juice), or a Beatles at Shea (black tea and peach infused bourbon, drambui, chipotle agave, ardberg, lemon and mint), he orders a beer. In a bottle. This enables Brah to clink said bottle with the bottles that the other brahs are holding while screaming "yeah brah!" Arm Candy Girl doesn't order a Black Alps (rye, pur blood orange, Cynar, orange oil), because OMG, like what are those things? Cray ingredients LOL! She'll take a vodka cran because, like, it's totes her drink.

There's no host, so there's no one to police the volume of patrons; no one to say, "sorry, guys, you'll have to wait downstairs until we get some free space." There no server, so there's no one to serve anyone not directly at the bar. Everyone standing waves credit cards around attempting to get the bartender's attention and everyone sitting at tables has to get up, wade through the crowd of brahs and candies and do the same. Arms will shoot past your face to pick up drinks. Someone will hit your chair. Someone else will hit your chair. A third person will... What's supposed to be a cute hidden lounge; a place where the chandeliers, cushioned chairs, copper ceiling, top shelf hooch, and skilled craftsmen create an oasis of refinement on Seventh Avenue instead turns out to be the pricier cousin of a Murray Hill Solo-Cup douchebar.

So... conclusion... You have to ask? Do you have any idea how badly I wanted to like this place? I mean, it hits all the marks, almost. In a sense, I guess I can't blame The Garrett for the quality of its customers, but then again, of course I can. They make up a huge part of the atmosphere. It's like saying that there's absolutely nothing wrong with staying a that particular hostel, except that the other residents will steal your bags while you're out sightseeing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Corona Park, it's just the people who use it litter like it's their job. The McDonalds by the Port Authority is centrally located and recently renovated and you'll love it if you ignore the junkies who camp out there and the drug dealers in the bathroom.

By the way, that fourth cocktail is a custom one Bro asked for. Don't ask me what's in it, but it was a bastardization of something he had once upon a time at STK.

Drinks at The Garrett are $14 each, on average. There is also a second location in Alphabet City.

Garret Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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