Best Contemporary Cocktail Bar - 2013
A bar — a really good bar — should function like a kitchen. And bartenders — really, really good ones — should put signature stamps on their cocktails the same way that a really good chef handprints his food. A chef like Max MacKissock at Squeaky Bean, for example. So it's no surprise that the Bean's innovative bar program, commanded by Sean Kenyon and a squad of other serious spirit geeks, takes the modern cocktail movement to the next level. The roster, divided into 1970s and '80s movie headings — The Longest Yard (tall drinks); Rocky III (all drinks served on block ice); Up the Academy (drinks that are served up) — is compact and focused, but also crafty and ambitious. Particularly intriguing are the Weird Science offerings, a catalogue of smoked cocktails that, like the rest of the list, change on a whim. For all the drinks, the ingredients are market-fresh; the ice is hand-carved and tailored to whatever you're sipping; the spices, sourced from the Savory Spice Shop, are aromatized and ground in-house; and there's even a PolyScience smoking gun that infuses billows of vapor into the cocktails. It's an exceptionally innovative program that doesn't miss a drop.