If you can stand the crowd, the Pegu Club has lots to offer: Review

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Around 10PM on a busy Friday night, Pegu Club on 77 West Houston in SoHo is exactly what you’d expect: lots of suits and ties, pretty cocktail dresses and a full bar with not a single open seat.

Clad in matching vests and rolled up sleeves, the bartenders are charming — if lacking in courtesy. Even after finally snagging a spot at the bar, I was then was ignored for sometime, before catching the attention of the head bartender, Raul.

I asked Raul to serve me his favorite drink (all cocktails are $16). He handed me a glass of water and said, “this.”

His acerbity, however, was only temporary, for he soon produced something called, the Earl Grey MarTEAni: a tea-infused gin cocktail with lemon and raw egg white. It took me to heaven and back.

My initial experience at Pegu was, overall, not a good one. Raul caught me taking photographs of the bar for this story, and sarcastically handed me the shaker. He made a confusing joke that neither I nor my date understood.

cocktails at Pegu
cocktails at Pegu

Perhaps realizing that I was an undercover critic, perhaps remorseful, Raul some came back to offer me another drink — a special of his, the Pisco Punch.

The menu warns guests to beware of this drink, as it isn’t called “punch” for nothing. The pineapple-infused pisco brandy, grapefruit syrup and fresh lemon was finished with a gorgeous edible flower that made it feel even more tropical and delectable than it already tasted.

I also had to try their namesake beverage, simply called the Pegu Club Cocktail, and it was described accurately as “crisp, snappy and fairly potent.” It’s a take on a martini, made with London dry gin, angostura bitters, orange bitters, orange curacao and fresh lime juice.

Given Raul’s initial brashness, my visit at Pegu Club wasn’t perfect, but I’d definitely go back for the Earl Grey MartTeanis.

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