Alert: The speakeasy from the Chicago cocktail mavens at The Aviary will make its New York City entrance to the wider public starting as early as tomorrow.
The Office at the Aviary — from Nick Kokonas and chef Grant Achatz, the team best known for innovative tasting menu restaurant Alinea — started slinging cocktails to a limited crowd on Wednesday night, largely friends and family of both the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the restaurateurs, Achatz says.
A fortuitous few may have been able to sneak into the exclusive crowd, though. Kokonas posted about the debut on his Instagram yesterday, calling it a “soft open” and noting that that they “*might* be able to take a few walk ups :-)”. Achatz tells Eater that the 45-seat speakeasy “will likely open to the public Friday.”
Kokonas had teased the debut earlier this week. Achatz has been spotlighting dishes like a beef tartare blinged out with flowers and a foie gras terrine shaped like a duck for a while now. On Wednesday, Achatz also showed off oysters with hot sauce, a mignonette sauce, lemon, and a new antique serving piece.
In Chicago, the speakeasy offers a cocktail and food tasting menu that costs $130 to $160 per person.
The Office is the first business that the Kokonas-Achatz duo has opened in New York. The main event will be The Aviary NYC, a local version of their Chicago experimental cocktail bar where chefs treat drinks like fine dining cuisine. Construction on that will start after The Office opens.
Although the primary draw at The Aviary has historically been drinks, Achatz and executive chef Dan Perretta are known to obsess over food at the bar as well. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served at the NYC version. Perretta has been posting tons of pics to his Instagram of potential dishes, including a dessert with banana, milk chocolate, passion fruit, and peanuts. Stay tuned for more.