Do tell...

One of New York City’s hippest bars is to pop up in the Land­mark Man­darin Oriental for a brief in­car­na­tion

Hong Kong Tatler - - Concierge -

lease don’t tell (PDT) has con­sis­tently topped the guide­books’ lists of coolest bars in New York City since it opened in 2008. Ac­cessed by reser­va­tion only and via an old-fash­ioned phone booth at the back of an unas­sum­ing look­ing hot­dog restau­rant, Crif Dogs on St Mark’s Place, PDT de­lights even the most dis­cern­ing of the Big Ap­ple’s drinkers with its win­ning com­bi­na­tion of at­mo­spheric interiors, world-class cock­tails and a se­lec­tion of hot­dogs that can be or­dered from the restau­rant next door. The ul­tra-hip bar will hit Hong Kong on Jan­uary 5 with a month­long pop-up in the Land­mark Man­darin Oriental’s MO Bar—ev­ery Tues­day to Satur­day, from 5pm to 12.30am. Guests will en­ter PDT HK through a hid­den en­trance in a phone booth up­stairs at MO Bar and, once in­side, they will dis­cover a space that faith­fully recre­ates the look and feel of the New York orig­i­nal. Along­side a cock­tail menu com­bin­ing PDT clas­sics with specif­i­cally crafted creations, the bar will serve a se­lec­tion of hot­dogs— pro­ceeds from which will go to char­ity—de­signed by chefs from the likes of Yard­bird, Ho Lee Fook and Bo In­no­va­tion. Co-founder Jim Mee­han and gen­eral man­ager Jeff Bell dis­cuss drinks, drinkers and drink­ing. How do you think the PDT con­cept will trans­late into a ho­tel set­ting? Jim Mee­han (JM): While the en­trance to PDT may be our most talked-about fea­ture, it’s the least mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­en­tially, as it’s noth­ing more than a Crif Dogs prank. We pride our­selves on what hap­pens in­side the bar, which won’t be lost in trans­la­tion thanks to the ef­forts that we are putting in to com­pletely re­con­struct the orig­i­nal within The Land­mark Man­darin Oriental.

You have cock­tails on your menu that in­clude ba­con-in­fused bour­bon and but­tered rum. How do you de­cide which com­bi­na­tions work? Jeff Bell (JB): No mat­ter how good—or bad—a com­bi­na­tion of in­gre­di­ents sounds on pa­per, you never know what it will taste like un­til you try it. That said, over the years we’ve de­vel­oped a pretty good sense of what will work and what will not. But­ter and rum are a clas­sic com­bi­na­tion, and bour­bon, smoky ba­con and maple are three very Amer­i­can flavours.

What’s the best cock­tail you have ever had? JB: My favourite cock­tail to have af­ter a long shift is a clas­sic daiquiri—8:3:2 light rum, lime juice, cane syrup. My go-to cock­tail when out and about is a Man­hat­tan.

Should a mar­tini be shaken or stirred? JB: Beauty is in the eye of the be­holder. A mar­tini is a two- in­gre­di­ent cock­tail that has count­less vari­a­tions. I pre­fer mine stirred with Tan­queray 10 and Dolin Dry Ver­mouth at a 3:1 ra­tio, fin­ished with a lemon twist. The stir­ring re­tains the clar­ity and vel­vety tex­ture of the al­co­hol while chilling at the same time. I think a shaken mar­tini, served ice cold, is a bit wa­tery, lean and opaque.

Which coun­try has the coolest drinkers? JB: Aus­tralians have a chat that’s un­par­al­leled and their col­lo­qui­alisms be­come more charm­ing as the night pro­gresses. The drink­ing cul­ture down there is su­per-fun.

Should cer­tain cock­tails only be drunk at cer­tain times—such as preor post-din­ner? JB: Peo­ple should drink what they want, when they want. The ba­sic rule of thumb that I use, how­ever, is that if a drink is light or bub­bly, has a low al­co­hol vol­ume or is bit­ter, then it’s most ap­pro­pri­ate on the ear­lier side. Ro­bust, boozy, stronger and sweet cock­tails make the most sense as night­caps.

Should cock­tails be gen­dered? JM: Women drink as much whisky as men do in New York City, so we don’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween guest pref­er­ences based on gen­der.

Do you think the speakeasy trend has run its course? JM: We never mar­keted our­selves as a speakeasy, so I’m re­lieved the trend has run its course—peo­ple can fo­cus on our ser­vice. If our con­cept were a gimmick, we’d have closed by now.

bar baron Founder Jim Mee­han at PDT, where hot­dogs are on the menu

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