Friday, July 12, 2013
The Speakeasy Albany
Steve Barnes and Danielle Sanzone had good writeups of the new Speakeasy in the basement of the City Beer Hall. Since I've been hoping that an equivalent to my beloved Clover Club would open in Albany eventually, I've been excited to try it. Tonight we did, and...I would have to say that is surpassed my already high expectations. About a month after opening, it's already a local treasure. The Speakeasy has some of the rituals of a speakeasy -- you can see the full list of "rules" at Sanzone's post -- including the need to ring the doorbell, an dark old-fashioned decor, and reservations recommended for the very comfy booths. But this doesn't mean that there's anything pretentious or forbidding about the friendly, knowledgeable service. And the cocktails are simply outstanding. I had a variation on the Rittenhouse Manhattan made with cognac and a classic Sazerac, both of which were beautifully done. Perhaps the star of the night was the gin fizz Ms. Garlic ordered, and she had an excellent, spicy mezcal-based cocktail as well. Our friend Julie had another very fine gin-based cocktail as well as an exceptionally good off-menu rye cocktail with an earthy liqueur. All of the drinks were thoughtfully balanced and beautifully presented, and our choices were arbitrary given that pretty much everything on the menu looked good. Food options are minimalist, but the charcuterie plate we split was excellent, and the prices were very reasonable for cocktails of this quality. It's a gem; we'll be back soon with another report.