It's been over a decade since New Yorkers could spark one inside their local watering hole—cigarettes, friends, though wouldn't that have been a beautiful world? There are still a handful of places where smoking is legally allowed indoors, including Sugar East, a new "speakeasy" that replaces Merchants NY Cigar Bar. The space has a coveted, grandfathered tobacco license, which the Merchants Hospitality group will continue to lure in nicotine fiends and those who don't mind airing out their clothes in the shower after a night out drinking.
"We created a space with a mid-century modern feel, hearkening back to the decadent Havana high life where one might feel like a cigarette after a few cocktails," owner Abraham Merchant explained to DNAinfo. Who among us... It's also a warning to the smoke-averse that perhaps they should find a different speakeasy (so-called here since guests descend some stairs to find the joint).
The smokiness extends to the cocktails created by Jeremy Strawn, formerly of Mulberry Project. There's a charred lemon garnish to the cocktail ($16) of the same name, which features Elijah Craig bourbon, absinthe and honey, and the Coconut cocktail ($18)—served in an actual coconut—comes with a singed cinnamon stick for a garnish.
The Havana theme continues with a Cuban Sandwich ($11) and a Grilled Vegetables platter ($12) that includes plantain chips; there are Mexican influences, too, including a Flat Bread ($12) with Oaxacan cheese, huitlacoche and cilantro, and a taste of Venezuela in the Lobster Arepa ($14).
1125 1st Avenue, 212-83-4610; sugareast.com