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Vesper Lounge

In the fall of 2012, five-time James Beard semi-finalist Frank Bonanno took over one of the town’s most notorious watering holes: the Lancer Lounge. But it wasn’t because Bonanno had a sudden urge to run a dive bar: This was all about location, location, location. The Lancer was right between Mizuna, the flagship of Bonanno Concepts, and Bones; Luca D’Italia is around the corner. On many nights, there’s a wait at these restaurants – so it seemed like a good idea to create a spot where people could have a cocktail until their table was ready. But as it turned out, Bonanno and Jacqueline, his wife and creative director, created more than a waiting room when they remodeled the space into Vesper Lounge. Unlike Bonanno’s other bar, Green Russell, and many other craft-cocktail hot spots that have popped up in recent years, Vesper isn’t a scene. There’s no fuss over housemade bitters, no two-hour waits, no specially chipped ice. There are, however, reasonably priced drinks, and also some very good snacks with a Middle Eastern flavor. Not to mention good company: This may not be the Lancer, but it’s definitely a neighborhood bar, with three TVs (not big-screen) for game-watching, trivia night on Tuesday, and lots of laughter.

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