Subterranean bars aren't just favorable for waiting out winter, they're also good for escaping the summer heat, like Slowly Shirley, a new bar that's opened up in the West Village. It's the underground counterpart to Acme's Jon Neidich and Pegu Club/NoMad Hotel veteran Jim Kearns's throwback spot Happiest Hour, located upstairs on West 10th Street. Sure, leather banquettes aren't conducive to bare legs, but the strong presence of crushed ice in the cocktails sure is—if you can survive the brain freeze.
The space is outfitted with lots of maroon leather benches—the above photo sadly doesn't quite do it justice—plus an Art Deco vibe that "takes the late 1940s for its inspiration," according to Neidich. Photographs lining the room depict glamor shots of the day's stars; other design flourishes include figurine lamps and a compass design set into the terrazzo floor.
But you're there for the drinking, with cocktails supposedly descending from classics like Old Fashioneds and Martinis. Of those, the Tahitian Coffee for two ($35) has the most curb appeal, not only for its size but for its vessel: a Chemex Coffeemaker used to make those fancy drip coffees that are so popular these days. Inside the glass is Plantation Barbados rum, Campo de Encnato pisco, house falernum (an almond syrup, typically), honey, guava, passion fruit, orange and lime. There's coffee in there too, of course, of the cold brew concentrate variety.
Slowly Shirley is located beneath The Happiest Hour at 121 West 10th Street; website