After nearly nine months of effort, Jake Soffes is nearly at the top of the hill — Capitol Hill, that is. His airy new bar, Hudson Hill, at 619 East 13th Avenue, is lacking only a final liquor license sign-off before the doors can open to the public. That should come today, barring any unforeseen issues, and then Soffes can get the bar stocked and ready to open on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Hudson Hill will offer cocktails, wine and beer at a variety of price points while maintaining a creative inventory, according to its owner. "Affordability is the most important thing for me, especially for this neighborhood — having a little something for everyone," Soffes explains.
So you'll be able to grab a Genesee Cream Ale and shot for just a few dollars or sip a $6 daily mixed-drink special, but there also will be house cocktails — mainly clever riffs on classics — and wines by the glass in the $7 to $15 range. If you like a taste of the islands, the Lenox Avenue Daiquiri should quench your thirst. It's a variation on the traditional rum drink, made with Black Strap rum, lime and cinnamon cane-sugar syrup that Soffes says is a tribute to the Caribbean chicken joints he enjoyed while living on Harlem's Lenox Avenue.
Or for an afternoon pick-me-up, Soffes suggests the 8 a.m., made with a fresh pull of espresso, amaro and a lemon twist.
"Wine is my passion project," he adds, so the by-the-glass list includes an intriguing selection divided between Old World subtlety and big West Coast-style flavors. Highlights include an Italian lambrusco by La Collina, a California malvasia by Birchino in Santa Cruz, and Wind Gap Soif, an unusual blend of valdiguié, negroamaro, syrah, dolcetto and mourvèdre grapes.
Four tap handles will pour rotating selections from Funkworks and Firestone Walker, as well as an organic cider from Shacksbury in Vermont.
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To accompany the beverage list, a brief selection of wine-friendly bar snacks — think toasted Marcona almonds, olives, aromatic cheeses and charcuterie — will be available, priced individually or as plates sided with fruit, preserves and pickles.
The space is bright and airy by day, with blond woods, white tile and a live wall of herbs near the south-facing front window. Soffes says he conceived of much of the decor himself, with overall design provided by LIV Studio. The stunning centerpiece is a thirty-foot bar made from two polished slabs of Douglas fir, with smaller sections of hewn wood topping a second community bar top. Two lounge areas with couches, stools and stuffed chairs add additional seating. At night, Edison bulbs provide a warm glow that lights up antique Navajo rugs and vintage-automobile photos taken by Soffes's father.
Hudson Hill will open at 3 p.m. daily and will include full espresso-bar service. Soffes plans eventually to expand to morning hours as well, to add a bright and casual spot with Wi-Fi where Capitol Hill residents can hang out and enjoy coffee.