Summit Bar should be your happy hour go-to: Review

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With its crystal chandeliers, dark stone bar top and riveted black leather bar stools, The Summit Bar provides patrons a more upscale, cocktail-driven experience than some of its neighboring watering holes on Avenue C. But don’t let the decor, noticeable from the street through floor-to-ceiling windows, steer you away from a potentially stuffy experience. Summit is very much a neighborhood spot with prices as attractive as its exposed brick walls.
The best deals are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when you can order a well-balanced, craft cocktails for the price of a beer ($7) and a daily selection of oysters for $15 a dozen (you can get them by the half dozen for $7.50 but why would you do that, they’re delicious). For your friends who prefer to not slurp their food from a shell, pulled pork and buffalo chicken sliders are available for $7. Order everything directly from the bar (there is no table service here) and find a seat at one of the long high-tops. Or, better yet, discover the enclosed wooden patio hidden behind those thirty-somethings in the back who don’t know any better.

But if there is a seat at the bar, take it. The filter-less bartender, Aviva, is a hoot. She’ll explain the kitchen’s offerings with ease but her eyes light up when the conversation turns to spirits. She’ll take you through Summit’s list of original cocktails ($12 each) and steer you toward the Sangria. Unlike the fruity, overly sweet mess that your mom stirs gently and serves at her October squash party, Summit’s Sangria is shaken hard and bracingly fresh. Meaty chunks of cucumber, fresh strawberry slices and a Cava top add a nice texture to a drink you’ll want to order by the pitcher next time (if only that were an option). Those looking for something just as refreshing with a harder edge should try the Ground to Glass, a tequila-based cocktail poured over a single rock of ice. Summit’s own orange bitters offset the sweetness of red bell pepper purée while a healthy dose of blanco tequila provides a good deal of bite. If industry standards are more your thing—Old Fashioned, Dark & Stormy, Caipirinha—Summit has a comprehensive list starting at only $10.

Like all of the city’s big-league cocktail haunts, Summit has the foundational elements firmly in place: Fresh juice, quality syrups, balanced recipes and skilled bartenders. That they manage to deliver a great product at a fantastic price without the hype or fuss we’ve come to expect from this city’s cocktail scene, however, is noteworthy. For someone just getting into cocktails who wants to develop their palette without breaking the bank, it’d be hard to find a better bar.

 

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