Midtown East — an area of town not exactly known for standout cocktail bars — is getting a promising newcomer today that combines classic drinks with food from a Momofuku alum.
Bergamo’s, located at the base of a 29-story office tower near Grand Central, will serve cocktails that are a mix of the traditional (daiquiri, sidecar, whiskey sour) and inventive, like the Ricky (frozen margarita and Modelo beer) and the Zinger (brandy, ginger, honey, lemon, mezcal float). They’re the work of beverage director Anthony Merlino, who’s had previous bartender stints at Vaulcuse, Ai Fiori, and the Baccarat Hotel. Cocktails run from $14 to $17, wines from $11 to $25, and beers from $5 to $12.
Though drinks are the focus, the kitchen has major firepower in the form of Momofuku alum Tien Ho, who is not only in charge of Bergamo’s but also the entire hospitality group’s upcoming projects. Here, Ho has created a menu of snacks and small plates like cacio e pepe dip served with Carta di Musica, a type of Sardinian bread that’s brought to Bergamo’s from Sullivan Street Bakery. There’s also a variety of pressed sandwiches including one with spicy soppressata, marinated artichokes, and provolone cheese in white pizza bread.
Bergamo’s is a return to the kitchen for Ho, who has hopped restaurant groups in the last few years. Since working for over a decade at Ssäm Bar, and the now shuttered Má Pêche, Ho went on to work with Gabriel Stulman at the short-lived Monmartre. He then worked for Whole Foods in Texas before returning earlier this year to serve as the culinary director at London restaurant and catering company Rhubarb, as well as head up its Hudson Yards restaurant Wild Ink. That partnership fizzled in just a few months, and now Ho is the culinary director of tech co-working space Company, with Bergamo’s his first project.
The massive space features a 63-foot-long bar in dark wood, bar stools upholstered in gray, dark brown leather couches, and vaulted, tiled ceilings that are meant to reference the Guastavino-tiled ceilings at the nearby Grand Central Terminal. The bar seats 90, and has room for 275.
Graceanne Jordan, a food industry veteran with managing stints at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Jean-Georges, and Tom Colicchio’s Craft Hospitality, is steering the ship at the hospitality group and its first bar.
Company, which bills itself as a “tech campus,” already houses 151 tech startups, with more to come as the building wraps up its renovation project. Building employees are the customers Bergamo’s is primarily looking to target, with Jordan saying that most of them frequent cocktail bars near their homes in Brooklyn and Queens, but that they wanted to create something that was easy to access right after work. The bar is open to the public, too.
“It’s hard to find a place in this neighborhood where you can get a nice snack and a drink at the same time,” says Jordan. “We’re looking to fill that gap.”
Bergamo’s is open Monday to Saturday from 4 p.m. and hasn’t determined a closing time yet.