Nearly two years after it closed, we once again got to have a holiday cocktail at Holiday Cocktail.
The new incarnation of the venerable St. Marks dive, now owned by Pirate’s Booty founder Robert Ehrlich and operated by Barbara Sibley of La Palapa next door, opened its doors last night for a friends-and-family preview party that doubled as a fundraiser for its St. Marks neighbor, the 118-year-old “Little Mish” day care.
Sibley told us the space is still under construction, but she hopes to open it just before the New Year. Once it’s in full swing, it’ll offer an “East Village-foraged” menu. Last night, there were latkes, crab cakes, and mini Cuban sandwiches packed with cold cuts from J. Baczynsky’s East Village Meat Market.
Behind the bar, Mike Neff (Ward III, Rum House) and Danny Neff (Extra Fancy) served up cocktails like the Lost Hollywood (rye, Frenet Branca, 3-Clubs bitters), the Bartlett Plunder (Avua Amburana, rye, lemon, cinnamon and pear), Trot Chocolate (a rye hot chocolate with Frenet and Kahlua) and a hot “TL-50” punch.
The name of that last one refers to Tavern and Liquor 50, a predecessor of the Holiday at 75 St. Marks that boasted the 50th liquor license issued after prohibition, according to Sibley’s research. She told us she made other discoveries while meticulously renovating and restoring the space, including an artisan well in the basement, original flock wallpaper that now graces the bathroom, and a mural belonging to another one of the Holiday’s precursors, the Ali Baba burlesque lounge.
The mural, depicting a harem girl, was found behind the bar but has been moved over to a front corner where, last night, a DJ played songs by the Ramones and other bands thought to have frequented the Holiday.
Rest assured, the original’s wooden phone booth and horseshoe bar remains, but the walls are now dotted with elegant sconces instead of beer signs, the original floorboards have been exposed, and plush banquettes now line the back. The biggest structural change is that the divider in the middle of the room is gone, as is the jukebox that leaned against it.
In short, this definitely feels like the best possible outcome for the Holiday following the death of beloved owner Stefan Lutak.