new york city

The Root & Flower Guide to New York City

Kirsten Dobroth
December 7, 2019

What happens when 7 members Root & Flower and Two Arrows staff head to New York City? A whole lot of tasting. “From the beginning, Jeremy [Campbell] and I have wanted to be a great bar not just by Vail standards, but by the world’s standards,” says R&F co-owner Sam Biszantz. “Trips like this one in New York get us out of our bubble and make us realize both things that we already do really well, and things that we can improve on. There is always an opportunity to get better.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that New York City is home to 10,000 bars (according to state liquor license records) to get some outside inspiration—and to pass along our field notes for you to take your own wine and cocktail tasting tour around the city.

Nitecap, Lower East Side

We love cozy cocktail nooks (hello, have you seen our old space?), so we particularly love it when we come across a cocktail den on our travels that reminds us of ourselves: effortlessly cool, quaint ambiance with packed with atmosphere, and, of course, great drinks. Nitecap (in our opinion) had that edge; great service, knowledgeable staff, and delicious cocktails served on a tray with candles in a speak-easy style space.

Amor Y Amargo, East Village

We loved Amor Y Amargo, which serves its cocktails in chilled, mustache-branded, baby glass bottles (how cool is that?!). The self-proclaimed “bitters tasting room” doesn’t try to do too much with its cocktails list, and we particularly loved the simplicity of the bar’s drink menu (and their Old Fashioned Manhattan).

Terroir, Tribeca

When we last saw Terroir owner Paul Grieco, it was at Root & Flower last winter. So, it was inevitable that when in New York City, we had to stop by his shop (where he greeted us with two bottles of dry sherry), which serves Italian-inspired tapas and has a 16-page wine list that’s packed with quirky information about niche pours of Riesling and practically everything available to order by the glass—even novel varietals you typically see only offered by the bottle. Terroir’s attention to detail when it comes to customer experience is inspiring (both as a guest and as industry professionals)—if you’re looking for an experience that’s both fulfilling and filling, add it to the top of your list.

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, Nolita

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels was also a favorite for wine (and food!), and offers “Wine Tasting Boot Camps” that feature “High Intensity Interval Drinking” with one of the bar’s Sommeliers (a concept we can get behind). The bar’s “Mystery Wine Competition” was also a trip highlight—they give you a blind taste of something off the wine list, and if you get it right, you get the bottle free (if you’re wrong, you pay for the taste). Be sure your palate is up for the challenge—anything on their massive wine list is fair game.

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

Maison Premiere specializes in oysters, absinthe (which they pour from taps behind the bar), and cocktails from a garden-inspired space that feels like you’ve been transported to old New Orleans. We were particularly blown away by their Maison Jungle Bird cocktail, which featured Campari-soaked pineapples. Pro tip: they’ve also got a reputation as a favorite late-night haunt for industry folk, so make sure you stop by after dark.

Pouring Ribbons, StuyTown

Pouring Ribbons is our pick for the city’s best cocktails, thanks to a consistently good drink list (trust us, we tried them all), plus excellent service.

And for Early Risers

Paper Coffee, Midtown

Paper Coffee was hands-down the best espresso of the trip (the pour-over is also painstakingly prepared, and was another staff favorite).

Bluestone Lane, Manhattan

You’ll love Bluestone Lane’s food menu—served in café spaces all over the world, including 18 incredibly chic locations in New York City and one in Brooklyn. We particularly loved the chain’s lemon curd & Greek yogurt with granola, savory grain bowl, and overnight oats.

Felix Roasting Co., NoMad

Felix roasts its own beans and serves expertly pulled espresso shots in an eclectic flagship space. Coffee here is an experience (so don’t rush it)—especially the s’mores latte that they smoke right in front of you (no campfire required).