New York, NY (January 9, 2019) – An area of NYC adorned with casual pubs is about to get a dose of old-school class in the form of Valerie, a new cocktail bar and restaurant launching this winter on West 45th Street. The bi-level haunt evokes the golden era of Manhattan with its timeless drink list, bistro-inspired menu, and Art-Deco inspired decor, all while providing a few inspired updates for modern crowds.
“We were inspired by the yesteryears of New York,” states co-owner of Valerie, Sean Hayden. “With the interior design, we focused on honing in on the glamorous architecture of surrounding buildings, like Grand Central Station,” adds Benjamin Kay, Creative Director / CEO of Adorn Designs Inc. and the designer of the space. “We wanted the space to be visually stimulating at every turn.”
Traditional elements like tile, salvaged brass pendants, and antique smoked mirrors are spiked with flourishes such as barrel vaulted ceilings covered with diamond-tufted Chesterfield-inspired cushions, fuschia booths, and large vintage murals of burlesque dancers adorning the walls. You can have a drink and quiet conversation underneath one of those murals in the Art-Deco inspired Gatsby Lounge, indulge in some casual New American fare in the dining-oriented Den or find more space upstairs in the Blushing Bar, a full-service space that also happens to be perfect for private events.
Marshall Minaya’s cocktail program also embraces the old-meets-new ethos. The list is full of timeless options – from modern classics like a peaty Penicillin, to Prohibition-Era standards like a tart Last Word – but Minaya pours many of them with a curated list of small batch and local spirits. Brands like Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch or New York Distilling Company Dorothy Parker Gin amp up the conventional cocktails with a modern twist. “You can have more of an educational experience when you come here versus the bars down the block,” says Minaya. “Every bar in this area has the same brands. Being in New York, we have access to smaller distillers that have taken their craft to the next level.”
An entire page of the drinks menu is devoted to European-style Gin and Tonic service. Guests can pick their preferred brand from a list of over a dozen gins, including local offerings like Brooklyn Small Batch and more exotic choices like indigo-hued Empress 1908. The spirit is served in a goblet glass with ice, with the guest’s choice of mixer served on the side in an individual-sized bottle tableside, so guests can create their own cocktails. Mixer options will include a selection of artisanal tonic makers, such as Thomas Henry Tonic who will offer flavors like Elderflower, Bitter Lemon and Cherry Blossom. “We want to encourage as much interaction between guests as possible, making the familiar fun and different,” says Minaya.
More adventurous drinkers can sample some of the signature cocktails, which lean heavily on innovative house-made ingredients like coffee-pecan bitters (mixed with Rye, coffee-infused Cynar, Whiskey, and Cacao in the You’re Wondering Now) and tomatillo-infused Mezcal (find it paired with Salers aperitif and lime in the These Stories Told). A selection of bottled cocktails for two showcases both classics like a Martinez and bold choices like the Black Crescent, which mixes gin and Campari with hickory-smoked vermouth. Taking further inspiration from the grand hotel bars of New Orleans, Sazeracs will be on offer during a daily happy hour.
Executive Chef Darren Pettigrew’s menu keeps things casual with plenty of plates to share, while offering more substantial options for those interested in a sit-down meal. Seasonal produce is front and center, and the restaurant gets many of its bread items from Hot Bread Kitchen, a Manhattan bakery that also provides on-the-job training for women facing economic insecurity. “For the food program we really want to focus on sourcing from brands that you can trust.” says Chef Pettigrew. “All of our proteins are hormone and antibiotic free. We proudly serve Brandt beef, a single family owned beef producer that is dedicated to sustainability.”
Lunch, dinner and brunch will be served at launch – the midday set will surely appreciate the flatbreads, salads and sandwiches available for a meeting or a quick pit stop, while the menu expands in the evening to include shareables like meat and cheese plates alongside bistro classics like a Bavette Steak Frites. Brunch includes a few international, and hangover-busting flourishes like waffles stacked with kimchi butter and fried Korean chicken.
While Valerie provides this neighborhood with a classy escape for imbibing, it also keeps things affordable. “We’re sophisticated, but accessible,” says Jill Lockhart, Director of Marketing and Design. “We want to provide this area of Manhattan with the missing puzzle piece – an elevated cocktail focused bar with killer food – and evoke a little bit of nostalgia for classic New York in a space where modern New Yorkers of all stripes will feel right at home.”
Valerie, located at 45 West 45th Street, will be open from 11am until late Monday through Friday, and 10am until late Saturday and Sunday.