Get Bubbly at a Champagne Bar to Ring In 2017
As Coco Chanel once said, “I only drink champagne on two occasions— when I’m in love and when I’m not,” which further proves the point that no matter what your New Year’s kiss situation may be, the occasion requires champagne. From old New York opulence to a southern-style watering hole, these four champagne bars o er an option for everyone to add some sparkle to the holiday.
Riddling Widow (127 MacDougal St.)
“Riddling” is a trivia word that every oenophile should know. It does not refer to asking a difficult question, but rather to the champagne-making process that involves consolidating sediment in the neck of the bottle so it can be easily removed, rendering the wine un-clouded and clear. It was a process developed by the widow, or veuve, of French winemaker François Clicquot at the beginning of the 19th century and thereafter popularized by winemaking widows of soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars. That’s all to say that there’s heaps of history behind the name of the 16-seat Riddling Widow champagne parlor below MacDougal Street.
It’s made to feel like a step back in time with its black velvet walls, Victorian-style chaise, and marble bar. Given the intimate size of the space, Riddling Widow offers just about the most personalized drinking experience one can find. So forego the Veuve Clicquot and enquire about one of the many other options, such as Hebrart Selection brut from France or an Austrian rosé.
The Champagne Bar at The Plaza (768 5th Ave.)
When the Plaza Hotel opened on the southeast corner of Central Park in 1907, its Champagne Porch was the toast of the town and watering hole of the local and visiting superrich, such as Diamond Jim Brady and the Prince of Wales. More than a century later—and having been renovated in 2014— The Champagne Bar at the Plaza is still viewed by many as the city’s most opulent champagne bar.
The nest vintages are accompanied by a caviar menu and views of the Pulitzer Fountain and Fifth Avenue. A red-lit bar rising all the way up to the high molded ceilings showcases the bottles like art, and enormous chandeliers glitter overhead as the daylight fades outside, while an international crowd lters in to start their evenings with a clink.
Bemelmans Bar (35 E. 76th St.)If you’re looking for a piano man to sing you a song, Bemelmans Bar is the order of the night. At the Upper East Side’s Carlyle Hotel, Bemelmans is so named for Ludwig Bemelmans, illustrator of the Madeline series of children’s books who lived for a year and a half at the hotel in exchange for penning the murals of Central Park that grace the walls and shades of glowing table lamps here in the bar.
Within the extensive bar menu, a page is devoted to champagnes from the finest houses—Krug, Taittinger, Laurent-Perrier, Moët & Chandon—though don’t overlook the cocktails, which feature The Old Cuban (a champagne-topped mojito) and the simple but delicious Passion Royale of passion fruit-infused vodka with fresh lime juice and champagne. Ceilings covered in 24-karat gold leaf twinkle above as nightly jazz is tapped out on a grand piano.
Birds and Bubbles (100B Forsyth St.)
Veering away from the traditional pairings such as caviar or soft cheese, Birds and Bubbles instead couples fine champagnes with some down-home fried chicken—call it Southern class. The chef, a North Carolina native, brines her birds in cayenne before frying them in a rich buttermilk batter and serves it with sides like grits and biscuits, which makes for meals so rich that, in fact, nothing sounds better than a belly full of bubbles to help digest.
A brick accent wall, strung bulbs, and wooden tables make the eatery warm yet chic, and the same can be said for feelings induced by the champagne menu. There are champagne cocktails served in mason jars with cheeky names like the June Bug, a Pimm’s Cup spinoff with sparkling wine, as well as a carefully chosen selection of fine champagnes ranging from a Gonet-Medeville Blanc de Noirs to a Drappier Rosé.