The small doorway off West Houston Street that leads to The Pegu Club is easy to miss, with little to hint at what lies beyond other than the neon lit logo of the bar. Once I eventually found the entrance and headed upstairs I found a long, narrow main room with modern lounge music playing. Behind the bar was a dizzying array of spirits, with two large shelving areas hidden behind gridded doors – I couldn’t see too well from my location, but I spotted Pimm’s Winter Cup and and the discontinued Plymouth Fruit Cup, and I’m sure many more rare delights also adorn the shelves.
For my first drink I chose the eponymous Pegu Club which was, in short, superb. With a strong gin base, a perfect mix of lime and Cointreau to add a sour but not overwhelming bite, and just the right amount of bitters to bring everything together. Served in a small, classic cocktail glass with a lime wedge for garnish it looked just as good as it tasted too.
Next I fancied something new, and having never tried Applejack before I asked the bartender for a classic drink making use of it. After quickly consulting a recipe index by the till I was excited to see him assembling Applejack, lemon, simple syrup and a freshly cracked egg white in the mixing tin, and after a long hard shake an Apple Blow Fizz arrived in front of me. With a lovely head of foam, plenty of apple and aromatic flavours and a smooth mouth-feel, this was a great introduction to Applejack.
Although I had only planned to stay for two drinks due to an early start the next day, I was enjoying myself far too much to leave so decided upon a Brooklyn as my final drink, as I had been in Brooklyn earlier that day to visit LeNell’s. At this point I was served by St. John Frizell who, after a short conversation about TotC, I learned is presenting the session on Charles H. Baker on Sunday morning – looking forward to that one even more now. Using Ramazzotti in place of the hard-to-find Amer Picon, his Brooklyn was a delicious end to the evening – a sort of dry, herbal Manhattan with that unmistakable Luxardo funk.
The Pegu Club really is superlative. Beautiful surroundings, friendly and professional staff and stunningly good drinks. Highly recommended!
The Pegu Club is located at 77 West Houston St St, between West Broadway and Wooster Street. Open 5pm to 2am (Sunday to Wednesday), 5pm to 4am (Thursday to Saturday).
Tel: +1 212 473 7348
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