The Future Bars/Destination Bars crew who are behind Bourbon & Branch, Wilson & Wilson, Rickhouse, Swig, and Local Edition, just added a new member of the family: Tradition. As discussed earlier, the new bar is actually in the space that they've been operating as a bar for a year now as Mr. Lew's Win-Win Bar and Grand Sazerac Emporium, formerly known as the 441 Club at 441 Jones. Owner Brian Sheehy and beverage director Ian Scalzo have been talking up the drinking details at Tradition, which are kind of involved!
First off, it will be open both for reservations and walk-ins, with two separate entrances. The walk-in bar downstairs will serve a limited menu, kind of like the Library room does at Bourbon & Branch, with a mezzanine housing barrels for the house-blended, and barrel-aged whiskey program.
Then, upstairs, there will be a bar dedicated just to those spirits, serving, among other things, Irish-American whiskeys that the team has been blending according to nineteenth century traditions that were lost during Prohibition. An example that Scalzo gave to the NYT is a blend of Redbreast 12-year-old Irish whiskey and Old Overholt American rye, which he says has the "sweetness of the Irish and a nice bit of spice from the rye." Each of these house blends will be one-off, limited editions, with only one barrel produced of each.
Also there will be a reservation-only section with nine "confessional-like booths" that they're calling snugs (see more details, and pictures, here). Each will be dedicated to a different cocktail era or spiritous origin that have contributed to drinking traditions, and each will seat between two and eight people. The themes, which will guide the nightly changing cocktail selection (available in all the snugs): Prohibition, Tiki, American Dive Bar, English, Irish, Scottish, the Big Easy, and Grand Hotel. (There is actually one extra snug, with two dedicated to Scotland for the moment, but as Sheehy tells Grub Street, "We expect the Germans and the French may want to take one of those!") So, for the types of cocktail geeks who revel in checking off the drinks they've had at Smuggler's Cove, there is a new boozy adventure to go on here.
Jon Bonné, for one, probably won't be making any reservations, because he's over it.
Tradition is now softly open nightly at 6 p.m., and we'll be bringing you photos shortly. Reservations will be available on the website starting tomorrow.
Tradition - 441 Jones Street at O'Farrell - Open Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m., closed Sunday. Starting June 19, they will be open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly.