Here's a look around Wassail, New York's very first bar dedicated to hard cider, which opens tonight on the Lower East Side. The bar is the work of Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler, the husband and wife team behind Astoria's popular coffee/grilled cheese destination the Queens Kickshaw (which has a thorough cider and beer selection itself). Wassail has a complete food menu, and just like the Queens Kickshaw, it includes no meat (though the owners resist being labelled a vegetarian restaurant). But the menu is just a little more extensive and a little more refined than the one at its Queens sibling – there are no grilled cheeses, but instead appetizers like burrata with winesap apple water, cucumber, and lemon oil, and entrees like cauliflower with black garlic and cashews, or asparagus with morels and parmesan custard. There are also smaller bar snacks, like jalapeno fritters, pickles, and scotch eggs.
But the real focus here is still the drinks menu, which includes 12 ciders (plus two beers) on tap, several more by the glass, and a long list of cocktails, most of which involve cider or apple spirits of some sort. The space itself is bigger than one might expect, with a rather spare dining room tucked in the back, as well as a banquette-lined front room, and of course the big bar. Take a look around the whole space above, and peruse the menus below. The doors open tonight at 5 p.m., and the kitchen starts serving dinner at 5:30.