For the Nightcap: The Vine Room

BY May 1, 2022
The Vine Room Fifth Avenue South
Inspired by modern speakeasies, The Vine Room transports guests with its tropical-retro interiors and experiential cocktails. (Photo by Anna Nguyen)

Caddy-corner, The Vine Room isn’t as easy to spot among the sea of vines that covers its facade. Modeled after modern-day speakeasies, owner Philip McCabe Jr. envisioned the cocktail list to read like a round-the-world trip, with a menu divvied up by continent.

Drawing on experiences at iconic cocktail bars, like Bar Hemingway at Ritz Paris, he worked with Knauer to give the cocktail lounge the feel of a five-star hotel bar with a tropical twist. A hand-painted jungle mural wraps around the lounge’s interior, crowned with a gold ceiling, dark wood walls, plush green velvet banquettes, and a honey onyx bar with mirrors and foliage poking out above. By the banquettes, long white feathers (remnants of the Gatsby New Year’s Eve party) add a touch of Gilded Age glamour, while most of the vintage art nouveau posters nod to personal experiences and places the young McCabe has visited. 

The cocktails were inspired by some of The World’s 50 Best Bars, including theatrical Barcelona speakeasy Paradiso. Taking a cue from Paradiso’s playbook, The Vine Room’s cocktails are experiential. The cachaça-based Box of Tricks is presented in a mini treasure chest with smoke billowing from its seams; the São Paulo-inspired Message in a Bottle, made with Brazilian banana liqueur, is garnished with a cinnamon stick and a large ice sphere frozen around a fresh rose; and the bestselling VR Margarita, finished with a layer of salted ocean foam, is modeled after one at Spain’s Michelin-starred Hoja Santa. And, for discerning traditionalists, the vintage section of the menu features a $65 Negroni made with 40-year-aged Campari.

If you’re sitting at the horseshoe-shaped center bar, go for dealer’s choice, and one of the bartenders will whip up a cocktail with bells and whistles, like The Flavour Blaster, a smoke-filled bubble that floats on top of drinks for guests to pop. “In Naples, people are world travelers. They’ve been all over,” McCabe, who is often at The Vine Room bussing tables and consulting on orders, says. “I wanted to build a place that you have to go to. It’s more of an experience.” 


Read more about the Worldly Tastes on Fifth Avenue South.

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