When revolutionary Chicago cocktail bar the Aviary opens in New York this summer, it will come with an added bonus: daytime service. Restaurateur Nick Kokonas and chef Grant Achatz — the masterminds behind Alinea — plan to serve a drink-first menu at breakfast and lunch time at the new location in the Mandarin Oriental.
The Post reports that the hotel classified the service as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” but Kokonas clarifies to Eater that they won’t be serving traditional meals. “Characterizing it as ‘breakfast’ or ‘lunch’ is probably misleading,” the restaurateur writes in an email. “We won’t be serving burgers for sure.... And we don't consider the Aviary a restaurant. Drinks come first — and that will include coffee, teas, juices, etc.”
The Aviary in Chicago is only open in the evening, serving cocktail tasting menus accompanied by small bites instead of a full restaurant menu.
That means Aviary NYC will be the first time that Achatz and beverage director Micah Melton will offer a menu of non-alcoholic drinks during the day. Kokonas says the menu for the New York location is not yet finalized, so he declined to say anything else about what it will look like.
If the Chicago menu is any indication, it will likely comprise small, creative single bites intended to accompany the drinks. There, they have had options like wagyu with smoked paprika, pumpkin seed, and yogurt, and a potato dish with custard, malt vinegar chips, and chive.
The Aviary is considered one of the world’s best bars. It takes a fine dining approach to cocktails, with bartenders considered chefs. A tasting menu of cocktails costs up to $195 per person. The New York location will be “slightly more buttoned up” than the Chicago outpost, and the menu will be somewhat inspired by New York bar history.
Aviary NYC is expected to open on the 35th floor of the hotel this summer with 90 seats. Its accompanying cocktail speakeasy, the Office, seating about 40 people, will open in tandem. The latter will only be open in the evening, offering an entirely different menu.