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Cocktail ‘Mad Genius’ Behind Booker and Dax Is Infusing NYC With New Bar [Update]

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Existing Conditions comes from Dave Arnold, Don Lee, and Greg Boehm

A cocktail at Booker and Dax
A cocktail at Booker and Dax
Photo by Nick Solares

The man behind New York’s “bastion of avant-garde bartending” is back in action.

Dave Arnold — the proprietor behind the highly scientific yet approachable and delicious shuttered cocktail bar Booker and Dax — has teamed up with fellow drink innovators Don Lee and Greg Boehm for a Greenwich Village bar called Existing Conditions, with room for up to 110 people.

The new bar, located at 35 West 8th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues, will serve $15 cocktails in five different sections, including non-alcoholic ones like a Doyenne that has pear juice, according to the Times. Other sections will be divided as carbonated, shaken, stirred straight-up, or on a big rock. Vending machines filled with bottled cocktails will also be on deck, available with a $15 token. Some food will like steak and fries will be served. Update: A rep for the team says that the bar opening has been delayed for a few weeks.

In line with Arnold’s reputation for using fancy kitchen equipment and special techniques, cocktails will sometimes use ingredients obtained from specialty methods — like extraction via centrifuge spinning and liquid nitrogen chilling. It’s a style that’s earned Arnold, Lee, and Boehm the moniker “mad geniuses of the cocktail world.”

But despite the work and expensive equipment that went into making the cocktails, Booker and Dax was far from a pretentious enterprise in practice, and so far, it sounds like Existing Conditions will similarly be a bit more approachable. Or, at least, more accessible than pricey fellow chemistry cocktail spot The Aviary.

This is a big deal for cocktail fans. Booker and Dax, which was located at the back of Momofuku Ssäm Bar in East Village, closed in 2016. Arnold always promised to reopen it, but finding the right real estate in the same area proved to be difficult, he has said. In a farewell, Eater critic Ryan Sutton called it edgy and innovative — an intellectual yet reasonably priced enterprise that the city would sorely miss.

Eater has reached out to Arnold for more information. Stay tuned for more.

Existing Conditions

35 West 8th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 203-8935 Visit Website