On this week's episode of What's Eric Eating, Reserve 101 owner Mike Raymond returns to the show to discuss all things whiskey with CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler. The two men cover a range of topics, including what Raymond thinks of the frenzy surrounding Pappy Van Winkle, why Raymond is buying fewer barrels of bourbon for his bar, and what spirits listeners should be looking to pick up on store shelves. Raymond's first appearance last July remains one of the podcast's most-popular episodes, and this episode will offer plenty of opinions for whiskey lovers to consider.
More importantly, Raymond shares the news that he's working on opening a new bar in partnership with acclaimed New York City bartender Michael Neff (Ward III, The Rum House) and designer Greg Swanson (Los Angeles' Clifton’s Cafeteria and The Line Hotel). While Raymond isn't quite ready to reveal the name or exact location — it's somewhere inside the loop — he did provide some details on what people can expect from the new establishment that could open as soon as April. Tune in at the 54 minute mark to hear the whole exchange, but here's Raymond describing the basic idea:
Part of what we want to do is, the cocktail bar scene hasn't changed a whole heck of a lot in the last 15 to 18 years. Everyone kind of takes the approach of that Prohibition-era, speakeasy, and it's really kind of sexy. People like the taboo notion of going through a hidden door and a hidden entrance, but we're really at the point now where every city has multiple concepts like that.
Michael and I are both products of the '70s, so we kind of grew up with the birth of punk rock, which fed into rock 'n roll. It's really going to be centered around music. We just have a mantra of high fives and hugs. We really just understand that people come into bars because they want to have a good time and have a drink. That's what we're going to do. We're going to give people a good time and try to provide an experience they're not getting anywhere else.
Prior to Raymond joining the show, local restaurant consultant Nathan Ketcham and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Their topics include recent opening like Coral Sword and Leeland House, some of the recent chef changes, and rising star chef Dominick Lee leading the kitchen at Poitin. In the restaurant of the week section, the duo rave about their recent dinner at Willie G's, and Sandler proclaims his affection for Golden Bagels & Coffee.