NYC's Best Bar: The Shakespeare?
The Shakespeare is an English pub in the basement of The William. We were immediately thrown in the stocks — aka a cramped private booth, same difference.
As Metro’s spirits editor, T. Michelle Murphy hits a lot of bars. In this new column, in various states of sobriety, she offers her take on New York City’s finest — and foulest — alcohol-proffering establishments.
Our group of seven got to sit in the really cool (unless you're claustrophobic) private booth adjacent to the bar, which amped the experience up to 11. Pro Tip: Bring a pack of cards (or Cards Against Humanity) — just be sure to keep ordering food and drinks, and tip your server, if you're going to take up the table all night.
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Ambiance: (Saturday, 11 p.m.) There was only one big group and our big group. This is apparently a place for big groups, so don't forget to bring one of your own. At first we were freaked out by sitting in the tiny private booth that's enclosed on all sides, but our server Trevor lightened the mood with a little joke — that he wouldn't let us out until we spent enough money. Hahaha ... ha. We lit a candlestick, which was part of the decor, and our cozy cubby went from uncomfortably suffocating to suffocating in the romantic way, like when you get a seat on the bus next to your crush in middle school ("Just be cool, Emma, don't blow this").
Bartenders: Trevor (of the famous "White Sangria," or so says the chalkboard out front) was on the ball with refreshing our drinks and remembering what seven people ordered.
Cocktails: Everything on the drinks list is a pretty basic staple, classed up with a themed name: Juliet's Pimms Punch is just a Pimm's Cup, for example, it doesn't really make you fall into a coma and kill your boyfriend. We had the Shylock's Gold Rush, which is essentially a cold version of a hot toddy, except for the secret ingredient: a pound of flesh.
Food:We did not try the menu, coming with fully bellies from Korean BBQ. But the establishment serves lunch, dinner, bar snacks and late-night pub fare. There's also a menu called "Afternoon Toast" — that's gotta be one of those fancy British things, right? I'll take my toast with tea, sir, thank you.
Price: ($$) Drinks on the table ranged from about $8-$13 for beer or cocktails, which is about average for NYC but a little steep for a "pub."
Specials:If you speak only in iambic pentameter, or order your drink in the form of a couplet, your drink is on the house. (Just kidding, that only happens if you're out drinking with us.) Find some specials on the board below; they might still be there when you go. (See what we did there?)
Drunkenness: (+++) This night started with two lychee martinis in K-Town, but it was probably the three glasses of Shylock's that sealed the deal.
To suggest a contender for NYC’s best bar, tweet T. Michelle Murphy: @TMichelleMurphy.