Employees Only is currently #26 on the “50 Best Bars in the World” list and has been on the list each of the ten years its been open, I have no idea why.
History – 5/10
The bar itself has basically no history other than it’s ten year run on Top 50 list.
Atmosphere – 6/10
Oh look, a 1930’s speakeasy themed bar with an unmarked door…. wee
Service – 2/10
Hard to judge the service as they really wasn’t any. Attempts to get service required serious flagging down despite a half full bar, most interactions with the bartender were just him pointing and grunting. Extremely cold service all around.
Casino Test – NA
Hard to request a special drink from staff with zero interest in interacting.
THE DRINKS – 3/5
I had two cocktails, the first a aperitif with clarified milk and rum that was… unusual and an Autumn in New York, which was fine.
TOTAL 16/35 – Why is this place on ANY list?
History – 7/10
While the Nomad Hotel is not old or historic the building which houses it is. Constructed in 1902, the Schickel & Ditmars designed building is the premier Beaux Arts design in the Flatiron District. I’ll also award some “history” points for the fact that the Nomad has been on the Forbes Top 50 Cocktail Bars in the World list every year since it opened, currently ranked #4, peaking at #1 a few years ago.
Atmosphere – 10/10
“Hotel Bar” is certainly an established style but Nomad pulls it off better than anywhere else I have been, everything is just perfect. The Savoy in London is close but the Nomad is just… more.
Service – 10/10
Service could not have been better, seriously, so friendly, so classy, watching the bartenders it’s clear that each experience was being tailored to the moods and expectations of each individual patron. Once our bartender got talking about cocktails and cocktail culture we were off and running, he offered tastes of obscure ingredients and hard to find liquors, he made us complimentary cocktails that demonstrated their desire to push the limits of flavour. Very, very impressed.
Casino Test – NA
Had planned on ordering but once we ordered from the house menu and experienced the quality of their drinks there was no way I was ordering off book.
The Drinks – 5/5
I wish I could rate this higher. In a word… the best drinks I have ever had in any bar anywhere, mind-blowing punch-in-the-mouthful sips of refreshing and innovative drinks, not sure I knew cocktails could be this good.
TOTAL – 32 of 35