Road Trip: Broken Shaker NYC Brings Miami’s Tropical Vibe to New York
When the Broken Shaker first opened in 2012 in The Freehand on Miami Beach with its mismatched outdoor furniture and funky poolside setting, it brought creative cocktails with a new vibe to the mostly residential and boring Mid-Beach.
The addition next door of 27 Restaurant, in a converted house, only added to the casual shabby chic appeal of both the bar and restaurant. Garnering James Beard nominations, and Tales of The Cocktail awards, the Broken Shaker led the way for the Mid-Beach emergence as a hot area which now boasts The Edition, The Faena and a whole new hipper crowd venturing north of South Beach.
This week, I got to visit opening day at Broken Shaker NYC, and that sense of casual, hip yet welcoming feel has made its way from Miami all the way to the 18th floor of the Freehand NYC. I know that neighborhood well having gone to college at 24th and Lexington Ave and remember the former SRO hotel, The Washington on Lexington Ave between 23rd and 24th. Let’s put it this way. It was a location to be avoided especially after sunset.
But the Freehand has taken over the hotel, converted it into their signature upscale hostel and added a mezzanine bar, lounge, and restaurant. AND, The Broken Shaker, accessible thru a separate entrance on the 24th street side.
Owners, Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi relocated to NYC to watch over this very ambitious project, after overseeing successful Broken Shakers in Chicago and Los Angeles.
The NYC Shaker with a combination of two inside bars and lounges and multiple outside roof decks and bars is impressive and yet somehow still feels cozy even though it covers the entire roof of the Freehand.
Lots of plants, kitschy and vintage knick-knacks, flamingo cocktail stirrers, and exposed brick and wood adds an urban yet tropical feel.
Delicious light bites are offered from a menu created by Chef Jimmy Lebron of 27 Restaurant.
On opening day, EATER NYC (https://ny.eater.com/2018/5/11/17346514/broken-shaker-line-wait-nyc) reported lines down the block as New Yorkers scrambled to be the first to experience the Broken Shaker and its tropical style first hand.
Fortunate to be one of the first escorted up to the space, I immediately saw Elad who was checking the bar set up with Miami-transplant bartender, Amanda.
Tropical painted glasses and flamingo and palm tree stirrers and colorful dreidels adorned the bar area.
Chef Jimmy greeted me and showed me some of the menu items inspired by Miami’s mix of Latino and Middle Eastern cuisine and included Arepas, Shrimp Ceviche, a Yemeni flatbread Malawach with 3 different dips,
A tender grilled Pulpo with smashed Tostones, Chicken sandwich with Arabic slaw, Cheese Board and a Cuban Frita burger with yuca fries .
Gabe was circulating making sure everyone had either a drink in hand or a menu to order food.
But it is the Bar Lab cocktails that are the focus here and offer the introduction to Miami that New Yorkers need to pay attention to.
The creative and at times comically-named cocktail menu includes: Lost In New York: featuring Poppyseed Bagel Fizz with Beefeater Gin, Aquavit shaken with powdered cream cheese (!), black seed bagel kvas and bitter lemon soda, The Smillie (named for Upland's Chef Justin Smillie) of tequila with key lime and golden beet coral, cilantro and ginger turmeric agave, and The Curry in a Hurry, with Grey Goose Vodka, Bombay Gin, Red curried honey, citrus and pineapple and topped with dried edible flowers.
Miami Vibes include a Preserved lime Caipirinha, a Cocoa Puff Old Fashioned and Friendship cocktails like the shareable for 5, B*itch Don’t Kill My Vibe, with Aylesbury Duck Vodka, with fresh pineapple, aperol, citrus and garden basil.
Somewhere In Between offers a nod to the Chicago and LA Shakers and include the Hebrew Hammer, with Johnny Walker Black, Ron Zacapa, Honey, Hazelnut milk, coconut cream and bitters, and a Strawberry Rye Tai. The Hey Richie features the picture of a random 80's girl with big hair stuck onto the side of the tall glass.
The cocktails are incredibly creative and make ordering, watching the bartenders prepare and adorn, and then sipping an entertaining event.
As the weather warms up and New Yorkers finally shed their winter apparel, once and for all, the NYC rooftop bar scene will heat up and my guess is The Broken Shaker will quickly become the #1 spot in "a NY minute". No wonder the hashtag #ShakerLife seems to be trending on social media.
24 Lexington Ave. ( entrance on 24th)
New York City, NY
(Photo Credit: Ria Rueda and Ellen Bowen for MIAbites)