By Gamal Hennessy
Address: 57 Stone Street
Closest Train: N/ R to Whitehall, 4/5 to Bowling Green, 1 to South Ferry, 2/3 to Wall Street
Phone Number: (212) 480-9800
Hours of Operation: Mon-Wed 11:30am-2am; Thu-Fri 11:30am-4am; Sat 4pm-4am; Sun 4pm-1am
The Financial District of New York is known for its banking and brokers. It isn’t known for bars. But brokers have to drink somewhere too (before they catch their trains out of town or retreat to their luxury lofts) which is why Stone Street does so well. It’s tucked away from the prying eyes of downtown tourists and close enough to visit for a liquid lunch or happy hour. There are 12 or more bars on this cobblestone street fighting for patrons. On most nights, Stone Street is filled with people spilling out from the various meet markets, sports bars and pubs.
Stone Street establishments range from high end affairs like Harry’s to sometimes desperate rooms like Ulysses. But it didn’t have an established cocktail lounge or a wine bar for those looking for something a little more diverse. The owners of several of Stone Street’s older bars opened Vintry last year to fill that gap.
Vintry has the vibe of a speakeasy without the faux drama at the door. If you can’t get in, it’s probably because your group is too big. The lounge is a small dark space for only 50 people total. This discourages the large after work group meetings that are common down for Wall Street happy hours, but if you ask the right people and book in advance you can reserve the private basement to debate who is or isn’t hooking up in your office.
It bills itself as wine & whiskey bar, but this is misleading. The bartenders spend most of the time crafting cocktails in the style that you find in established speakeasies, not serving wine. Vintry is much stronger in the whiskey department, with a selection covering two thirds if it’s 12 page menu and representing the distilleries from US, Canada, Japan and Scotland (Scottish whiskey is then broken down into offerings from the highlands, the lowlands and artisan types) . There is an index card in the back with about a dozen things to eat, if you're the type of person that eats food.
Staff is quick, attentive, cute & friendly. You can’t ask for a better combination of qualities in your operators. The crowd is a younger mix of broker types, residents of the luxury buildings that have recently sprung up downtown and the odd tourist who wants to mix with the locals after fighting their way through Century 21. The vibe is loud and lively, borrowing more here from Ulysses than Milk and Honey, but it is more hideout than meat market. Come here with the drinking buddies that you happen to work with. If you’re looking to hook up with a banker, stick to the other Stone Street spots.
Vintry is part cocktail lounge, part whiskey bar, part after work spot and part local hangout. It is a higher class experience than Ulysses and Stone Street Tavern but less formal than Harry’s or Delmonico’s. Overall it is a welcome addition to FiDi drinking for those who can't make it to the Lower East Side before its time to go home.