You’ll drop a lot of cash at The Office, the new bar in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, from the team behind Chicago’s renowned Alinea restaurant, Next, and The Aviary (and Chicago’s Aviary’s “speakeasy” bar-within-a-bar, The Office—which, eventually, this new NYC opening by the same name will be as well, once the NYC location of The Aviary opens this autumn). Cocktails are $23 apiece, and that’s before tax and a mandatory 18% tip. For sure, they’re from the cocktail wizards at one of America’s most game-changing cocktail bars, but still.
The bar snacks, overseen by lauded chef Grant Achatz, are equally pricey: Be prepared to blow $40 if you’re craving steak tartare, or $28 on a crudité spread, or $32 on a truly astoundingly good tureen of mussels in a creamy bacon broth (we’d probably order that one again, tbh), or an astonishing $35 for the “sundae for two,” which is essentially four scoops of vanilla ice cream plus an array of sliced fruit and bodega-bought candy toppings.
But you also have access to some once-in-a-lifetime tipples. You see, restaurateur Nick Kokonas is an expert in and collector of vintage spirits, and (for a steep price) you can sample some, either neat or in a cocktail.
The “Dusty Bottle Cocktails” list includes a $900 wet martini using supercentenarian gin and vermouth from just after the turn of the prior century, plus a molecular gastronomy-ized olive; and a 1960s negroni using Beefeater, Carpano Antica, and Campari all from that decade (for a more reasonable $90). You could also try some vintage Cynar from the 1970s, or Fernet-Branca from the 1930s, or Kokonas’ personal favorite, 1969 Old Fitzgerald bourbon poured from a gallon-sized bottle with a custom pouring contraption.
Sure, for many people this might make for a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, but we can’t imagine a better way to celebrate, say, a milestone birthday or other special occasion.
Especially if someone else is paying.