The Pool Lounge, the cocktail bar component to the Major Food Group's overhaul of the former Four Seasons space, opened alongside the second restaurant in the space, The Pool, over the summer. This week, the Lounge invited press to tour the space and sample the cocktails designed by Thomas Waugh, the Bartender & Director of Bar Operations who also runs the beverage programs at MFG's other flashy Manhattan eateries.

Waugh's drinks center on one ingredient and then riff on the flavor profile with booze and other additions. The Cucumber packs a potent punch with absinthe combined with lime and sugar then poured into a cocktail glass with crushed ice; one was enough for this reporter to feel a little lightheaded. Other drinks, like the Jalapeno, take a more straightforward approach, combining the chili pepper with Reposado Tequila, Fino Sherry and cucumber into a spicy martini served up. The signature cocktails run $18 a piece.

Though the vantage point is unique, it's slightly awkward to feel like you're spying on the diners tucking into the seafood dishes at the restaurant below. But the renovated namesake pool is undeniably pretty, as is the stunning Alexander Calder mobile that hangs above it. The bar itself is quite dark, both in its color scheme and the low lighting, making for an intimate environment, though the seating—which is tightly spaced—isn't ideal for canoodling without an audience.

It's been a bit of a struggle for the space of late. In this review of The Pool, NY Times critic Pete Wells revealed that the bar was "built without the permits from the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the law requires" and that a hearing was called and applications were eventually filed to cover the renovations. You can see the contested changes in this Eater article, which shows before-and-after shots of the bar and wall covers—plus a host desk in the lobby—with which the Landmarks Preservation Commission took umbrage.

99 East 52nd Street, (212) 375-9001; website

The Pool Lounge Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd