My first visit to West Ave's new St. Genevieve unfortunately didn't include a stop at the establishment's build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.
But it did include an amazingly coiffed-yet-bro-like bouncer, a self-entitled socialite sighting, a horrendous dirty martini and a much better replacement watermelon mojito. And a lot of fun.
I knew I wasn't in Midtown (where owners Jeff and Darren Van Delden also own Wonder Bar and Red Door) anymore when our all-female birthday dinner group, having just dined at Alto, had to wait in a thick crowd at the entrance while the above-mentioned bouncer — in the skinniest of jeans, the most pressed of shirts and the most impeccably mussed hair — hand picked entrants.
We made it through after three humiliating rejection rounds, but not before spotting a certain store-owning socialite chide the young man for not knowing who her friends were. They were ready to spend some serious money on those martinis.
We made it through after three humiliating rejection rounds, but not before spotting a certain store-owning socialite chide the young man for not knowing who her friends were.
Once inside, we were impressed by the elegant interiors — all-white boat house-inspired ladies' rooms; crisp, pleated back-lit wall treatments above a white marble bar, dark wood accents and rich velvet draperies — and overcome by the people-watching.
The age of the crowd varied wildly from barely twentysomethings to guys who could have fathered this twentysomething in a second family. It all made for a more interesting night, and if you were ever considering an augmentation of any kind, this would be the weekend spot to check out the latest models.
Perhaps sensing the preferred pastime of guests, the bar includes two patios from which patrons can stare down at the comings and goings downstairs at Eddie V's, across the way at Cru or just across the bar at each other. St. Genevieve is named for the patron saint of Paris, after all — a city so preoccupied with watching people that all the café chairs face the sidewalk.
The bar service was slow, but it was packed and there were waitresses available if you preferred to post up and stay put. Less understandable was the bartender (perhaps hired for his good looks) taking three shakers and close to 10 minutes to pour four dirty martinis. When your barman forgets the vodka and has to pour it on top at the end, it's not a good sign.
Far, far better were the Cubanos — a classic, well-done mojito augmented with crushed watermelon. They were so refreshing, we saw an admirable number of men with the pink drinks in their hands.
I'm resolved to return when there's more shoulder room to try out that BM bar and sample the happy hour — $6 prosecco and cheese fries, $7 Titos drinks and reuben empanadas, $8 mojitos and flatbread pizza, among other apps and bevs in the $6, $7 and $8 format. The small plates were put together by Haven's Kevin Naderi, too, so count on some after-work noshing.
St. Genevieve's website is still under construction; check out the Facebook page for more info.