The resurgence of cocktail culture in Manhattan seems to have reached its fever pitch. Luxury, bespoke cocktail lounges have become a popular addition to the pub/club culture of New York -and many are thriving. Of the now sizable bunch, two such acclaimed cocktail lounges sit only a few blocks from one another on Vanderbilt and Washington Avenues in Prospect Heights. The bar scene in Prospect Heights has grown along with the region over the last decade, becoming more diverse and acclaimed each year. The area, which will soon welcome the highly anticipated new green space, Pacific Park, and its exciting building of Brooklyn luxury condos at 550 Vanderbilt, is showing no signs of slowing down either, as it seems every week a new watering hole opens its doors. But for this article, we are focusing on the two aforementioned havens-de-cocktail. Vanderbilt Avenue’s Weather Up and Washington Avenue’s Tooker Alley.
Tookey Alley has a throwback prohibition vibe that is very often attempted, but very rarely successfully achieved. Here though, everything feels authentic and natural. The rustic, speakeasy aesthetic is permeated by the cascading jazz reverberating softly through the space. There are tables lining one side, and a large bar covering much of the other. The backyard is a charming, little expanse that exudes the same level of effortless sophistication as the interior. And though the atmosphere is second-to-none, the drinks are the real star of the show here. The menu is housed inside these wooden folders, and there are enough innovative and finely prepared cocktails within those pages to satisfy even the pickiest spirit enthusiast.
Weather Up has a bit of a darker feel that Tooker Alley, although it still captures that same speakeasy vibe. The small, unrecognizable building has no sign, but it still pops out due to its vibrant, white-tiled facade. When you enter Weather Up, it feels like you’re stepping into another time, as the ceiling is lined with the same brilliant, white tile as the exterior, the floor is constructed of worn out thick wood panels, and the beautiful, wood bar superbly punctuates the space. Much like Tooker Alley, the atmosphere is top-notch and it still falls second in line behind the cocktails. Their list isn’t quite as extensive as Tooker’s but it is filled with classic, well-prepared cocktails and several unique and innovative options.