2010: It’s time to stick a fork in it and call this year done. Or, in this case, perhaps a pretty paper parasol skewering a cherry and a pineapple wedge is more befitting of the nightlife trends that captured our hearts this year.
Hottest scene: Hotel bars
A new crop of luxe hotels has taken the hotel bar to the next level. In some cases, literally: Sirens swim in sexy, glossy prints in the Gansevoort Park Avenue’s rooftop lounge (420 Park Ave. S., 212-317-2900), and intimate Jimmy, on the rooftop of the James New York Hotel (15 Thompson St., 212-201-9118), is a lofty coup for the SoHo set. The cityscape doesn’t look prettier than from the rooftop PRESS lounge at Ink48 Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen (653 11th Ave., 212-757-0088). Although the scene at the Ace Hotel (20 W. 29th St., 212-679-2222) is still our favorite.
Cocktail trend: Tiki, tiki, tiki
Let’s be clear: NYC has never had a shortage of tropical-themed bars. (If you’ve never been to Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th Street and Avenue B, shame on you!). But this year proved to be a particularly banner one for the pina colada, the zombie and other island-born libations that inspire dreams of grass skirts and balmy climes. The newcomers each have a twist: Painkiller (49 Essex St., 212-777-8454) is tiki culture crossed with New York hardcore; Hurricane Club (360 Park Ave. S., 212-951-7111) has such a deep list of cocktails that you point and order by number; and Lani Kai (525 Broome St., 646-596-8778) channels the Hawaiian islands.
Beer trend: (More) beer gardens
Is there such a thing as too many beer gardens? Probably not. In addition to openings — Loreley in Williamsburg (64 Frost St., 718-599-0025), Der Schwarze Kolner in Fort Greene (710 Fulton St., 347-841-4495), this year the city even got its own dedicated app dedicated to the cause, NYC Beer Gardens. Use it to track stein-related updates, such as the fact that Biergarten at the Standard Hotel (848 Washington St., 212-645-4646) is now winterized. Hooray!
Strangest craze: Four Loko
Oh, Four Loko. Your potency was so great that you were taken from us suddenly — and we were just getting to know you. In all seriousness, there are few mass-marketed products that have risen at such a meteoric rate in the trending lexicon of the city’s drinking population, only to abruptly disappear. Who can forget the all-you-can-drink Four Loko promo at Xiao Ye that landed audacious chef/owner Eddie Huang in hot water? Or the ridiculous Facebook photos of spontaneous Four Loko parties, as New Yorkers snatched up whatever contraband they could get their hands on before it was gone forever?
Something to toast to: The proliferation of unpretentious wine geekery
We’ve long been fans of Terrior, the no-frills wine bar tucked away on E. 12th Street in the East Village. So we love that Terrior didn’t loose any of its edge in its expansion to tonier TriBeCa digs (24 Harrison St., 212-625-WINE): Same rockin’ playlist, same three-ring binders covered in Sharpie tags and hand-drawn stickers. A couple of pioneering first-generation Europeans (and admitted oenophiles) have opened Bodega Wine Bar in Bushwick (24 St. Nicholas Ave., 646-924-8488). When wine geeks open wine bars, their enthusiasm is contagious. Stop in at either Custom Wine Bar (644 Driggs Ave., 718-387-9463) or The Counting Room (44 Berry St., 718-599-1860), both new this year in Williamsburg, and you’ll catch the bug, too.