Chef Charlie Palmer has built his empire upon his self-named Progressive American Cuisine, which has made him a Michelin darling and notable personality on the national culinary map since his first restaurant Aureole opened in 1988. For his latest incarnation, the chef, restaurateur and Today Show regular takes on the cocktail renaissance with Crimson & Rye, a craft cocktail bar and restaurant opening tonight inside Midtown East's Lipstick Building.

Situated on the ground floor of the East 54th Street side, the eatery has a more laid back and energetic atmosphere than the custom chandelier and wine mezzanine-style of its sister at One Bryant Park. With the focus on drinking and sharing plates of fingers foods that's just as well; the area suits will eat it up.

In its opening weeks, the bar will be serving an abbreviated cocktail menu but will eventually grow to about 20 house and classic cocktails. The starting lineup includes their version of standards like the Pickled & Dirty ($15) with Grey Goose, olive brine, pickled onions and lots of olives and a Seelbach ($13) make with Four Roses bourbon, bitters, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao and sparkling wine. There are also three house cocktails designed by Mercer Kitchen alum Luis Mendez, including the Lipstick Fizz ($14) with Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin, pomegranate, house made grenadine, citrus and soda water. Purists can opt for a glass of something from the extensive liquor list, plus wines, beers, mocktails and a refreshing Lemon-Basil Shandy ($11) if the mood calls for it.

The food menu skews more Progressive Light, with shared "bites" like tacos filled with seared tuna and sliders in pulled pork, shaved beef and organic turkey flavors. Larger dishes include a vegetarian Crimson Spaghetti ($16) with heirloom tomato broth and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes seasoned with basil, parmesan and chili flakes and a Char Roasted Black Angus Sirloin ($19), served sliced on a platter with pickles, warm potato salad, horseradish aioli, smoked chipotle and toasted baguette. Instead of the roasted chicken popping up everywhere, Palmer's doing a roasted turkey breast, served similarly to the steak with diners encouraged to DIY sandwich.

198 East 54th Street, 212-687-6692; website

Crimson & Rye Dinner Menu

Crimson & Rye Drink Menu