Achatz's Aviary Opens in NYC with Wild & Creative Cocktails

And you’ll be paying for the pleasure.

By Ethan L. Johns
September 28, 2017

Image: The Aviary NYC

On Wednesday night, Manhattan’s newest, hottest bar opened for business on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. But it’s not just the hotel—with its extravagant $995 starting room price—that hints at the inevitable spectacularity and over-the-topness of this bar, it’s the men behind it. The Aviary NYC is the second bar from the Chicago-based Alinea Group, run by Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas.

The NYC location has been six years in the making for the team. Featuring an open kitchen and a pretty prime view of Central Park, the main focus is cocktails, but food is naturally available. In typical Achatz style (the three-Michelin-starred chef being known for his innovative plates and artistic sensibility), the Aviary’s menu is clever. The “How Does Snoop Dogg Use Lemongrass” cocktail features mystery ingredients like “swizzle” and “ginger snow,” and the “Bring Another Smurf!” has butterfly pea flower, coconut and mezcal. While the Bloody Mary seems normal enough, it carries a price tag of $38—which was explained by Kokonas to the New York Times as being more like a meal than a drink. For now, the food is influenced by Japanese cuisine and is priced à la carte, but tasting menus from 3 to 10 courses are in the works.

The opening of Aviary NYC follows that of The Office NYC—the smaller, cozier, speakeasy-style bar that shares the Aviary’s space—this past June. The New York locale of the Office was branded as a more business-oriented bar—a quiet place where the world’s elites could go to make a deal and sip on “$500 per-ounce pours of Scotch whiskey, Cognac, and Chartreuse,” according to Achatz in an article from Bloomberg. In the same article, Kokonas explained one aspect of the high cost of doing business in such an enviable, high-security location: every delivery gets a $50 surcharge tacked on.

To get yourself into the Aviary, you’ll need to use the bar’s online reservation system, which requires a $20 deposit per person as insurance for no-shows. A small token for walking away from a seat at the what is bound to be one of the most creative bars in the country.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns