The Jane Hotel Bar
, 848 Washington St.
Price range: Rating: 4L's
The last item on the cocktail menu at the Jane Hotel’s bar is a room rate. Ninety-nine bucks buys a night in one of the hotel’s cozy little ship’s cabin-style rooms. Not overly presumptuous on the Jane’s part — the bar’s French boudoir-meets-Dracula’s castle vibe combined with the brazen force of the cocktails could make the most jaded New York scenester feel all moon-eyed and swoony. The hotel’s already become the axis of the Meatpacking District’s conversion from bottle serviced wasteland to sophisticated nightlife hub, and the bar is simply gorgeous. Prepare to get knocked on your ass.
Walk into the fabled Jane (historic home of sailors, artists, Titanic survivors, and Hedwig’s Angry Inch) and make a right to enter the oak-paneled bar room. Be sure to get here before 10pm — a long line of anxious club types, corporate types, and bowler-hatted hipsters craned to get in at around midnight on a Tuesday. Pass the first bar to reach the cavernous cocktail room, complete with roaring Beauty and the Beast-type fireplace and epically proportioned disco ball. Claim one of the many groupings of love seats and chintz sofas for cocktail service, provided by typically black-clad and beautiful (but very nice!) servers.
The cocktails themselves are lovely to look at, but their quality is uneven. The Punjab ($14), first on the list and everyone’s favorite, combines organic cucumber vodka, limoncello, and cucumber for a light, summery drink that tastes increasingly citrusy as the drink sits. The Hedwig (honey vodka, strawberry puree, and fresh dill, $12) hits with a big burst of honey, which works oddly well with the copious dill. (Note! Not a date drink. The floating dill and strawberry seeds practically beg to get lodged between your teeth.) A traditional Pimm’s Cup ($12) and the Brown Sugar (basically a mojito, $14) are both satisfactory — good options if you’re not feeling adventurous. The West Side ($14), which combines bourbon, amaro, and honey liqueur, is as syrupy and cloyingly sweet as it sounds — definitely a lowlight. The menu’s biggest miss is the Lady Marmalade ($12), a bland gin martini with orange liqueur and actual marmalade. I absolutely do not recommend finishing this drink — a big glob of semi-melted jam lurks menacingly at the bottom.
Don’t let a few missteps on the cocktail menu deter you, though: the Jane Hotel and its beautiful bar will reacquaint you with what New York nightlife can be. Let yourself get caught up in the crimson-lit room, with its audacious taxidermy, wrought iron fixtures and chairs made out of golden gargoyles. It’s edgy and opulent, throwback and glam — the dazzling face of the new, grown up Meatpacking District.