In the midst of all the Chinese restaurants, bakeries and marketplaces in the Lower East Side stands a quirky bar that serves as a restaurant and hangout place for youthful Manhattanites. Cocktail Bodega, which opened less than two months ago, offers original twists on international dishes.
Owner Matt Levine said Cocktail Bodega provides liquor-blended smoothies and freshly squeezed juices along with a menu that takes a creative and innovative approach to traditional street food.
The interesting picks on the food menu include the Kimchee Reuben ($9), Jamaican Beef Patty ($9), Waffle Fries ($5) and Jerked Chicken Satays ($7). Almost all of the items are under $10, keeping it college student-friendly.
When asked about forces behind his inspiration for the new bar, Levine said it was “A love for fresh juice and smoothies, farmers markets and a passion for creative cocktail programs and the hospitality business.”
And this vision of Levine’s vision is being manifested: Customers are already discovering the fun combinations of Bodega’s cocktails, including The Gin Hulk, a blend of Hendrick’s gin, apple juice, cucumber juice, lemon juice and spinach juice, and The Ironman Whiskey, a mix of Jim Beam, apple juice, beet juice, carrot juice and celery juice. All of the juices cost $13.
Even for those who are under 21 years of age Cocktail Bodega offers a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
“We are a juice and smoothie spot with the option to add liquor,” Levine said. “We’ve been described as a ‘grown man’s Jamba Juice.’ Our use of fresh blended or juiced fruits and vegetables with our healthy additions like bee pollen and vitamin C separates us from your traditional NYC bar.”
The popular smoothies are Jameson Brown Sugar Banana, a mix of banana, brown sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and vitamin C. The other is The Bodega Cleanse, a blend of agave nectar, Anjou pear, fresh aloe, kale, kiwi and flaxseed. Smoothies are also $13.
With its interior part diner-inspired and part skate park-inspired, this new joint is designed to be a relaxing place to enjoy a Friday night. The large, flat-screen TVs hanging on the walls also create a perfect place for all sports lovers to appreciate a game of college football.
Levine also said Cocktail Bodega creates a strong sense of community in the Lower East Side. With the Cocktail Bodega Underground, the restaurant is connected to a club and invites DJ’s like Eli Escobar, Stretch Armstrong and All Dom Wrong.
“The intimate venue, with subway seating and poles purchased straight from the MTA, is located in the former 205 space,” Levine said.
Beers start at $6 and non-alcoholic juice and smoothies are $6.50. Juice and smoothies with liquor are $11 while the specialty juice and smoothie cocktails are $13. There are also $15 lunch specials from noon to 5 p.m. every weekday, which come with one food item and choice of one specialty juice cocktail.
Cocktail Bodega is located on 205 Chrystie St. and opens at 11 a.m. every day.
Michelle Lim is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.