Great hidden spot on the UES / Yorkville for tiki like cocktails in a lounge setting. It’s almost as if a prohibition era speakeasy was mutated with a tiki bar dashed with a bit of the Maltese Falcon thrown in for good measure. When we walked in here I thought I had entered a bar somewhere downtown, but was so surprised that it’s in my hood!
More and more of these terrific spots are opening up around here and it’s another nice addition to the burgeoning bar scene that seems to be happening in the area. Why schlep all the way downtown and back when locally there are so many choice bars around here now? Some nights you just want to stay close to home.
Anyway, JBird exudes a chic speakeasy vibe and has a drink list to match. We were able to score one of the last open tables as it was a bit crowded when we got there. The menu we were handed included a varied and diverse list of libations separated as wine, beer, sours, swizzles, juleps, collins, fizzes, effervescents, aromatized, and old-fashioned cocktails. They also have some “bar bites” such as mixed warm nuts with rosemary and salt, and popcorn made with avocado, cholula, lime, garlic, and cilantro. We ended up getting both and though a bit messy were kind of tasty and addicting to eat. There is also a small menu of dinner entrees, cheese plates, salads, and sides. They support local, natural, sustainable, and organic farmers which is a good thing on their part. It’s nice to have the option to nosh on a snack, or sit down for a hearty meal over a quality cocktail.
We ended up ordering a few swizzles and mixed drinks on crushed ice over fun conversation and some great music they were playing here. A mix of old rock and some new wave tunes that night. All the drinks were delicious and of a good size. The JBird Swizzle ( jasmine flower rum, don’s spices, pineapple, lime, orgeat, blueberry syrup, and bitters) along with Behind God’s back ( aged run, pineapple and lime juice, cane sugar, cinnamon syrup, orgeat, and bitters ) were frosty good and packed a nice punch. They even have a flaming scorpion bowl for two! How romantic!
As far as beer It is kind of funny that they serve Budweiser tall-boy cans, along with Negra Modello, Pork Slap, and Innis & Gunn in bottles. I actually saw a few guys drinking the Bud tall-boys and had to laugh. With all the cool cocktails to choose from these lunkheads still drink the frat boy special!
The place can be a bit pricey, but I guess that is par for the course with cocktail bars like this nowadays in the city. You pay for the mixology of a well crafted drink and low lit ambiance. Coming from the minds of a few guys who tended bar at Death & Company and 1534 the cocktail list is inventive and interesting. Overall service was attentive and not too overbearing. They know what they are doing here when it comes to mixology.
They do take reservations here and I would suggest if coming for dinner, or with a group, make them. Even though there is a good amount of seating JBird can get very crowded, and loud on weekends. Seems like a nice place to take a date on a weekday when the crowds are away, especially if you live up here in the nether regions of Manhattan and want to keep it local.