This cocktail lounge is three floors above its sister restaurant Zou Zou's in Manhattan West, and its dimly-lit space gives us Twin Peaks Red Room vibes. It has velvet chairs and black and white tiles, as well as a huge outdoor terrace that's a welcome escape when the weather’s nice and it gets too crowded inside.
Cocktails hover around $20 here, and they're categorized into buckets like Stiff Drinks, Shaken, and Bubbles. If you like martinis, get the Dirty Zou, which consists of a small carafe of grape leaf and dill brine embedded within a larger carafe of olive oil-washed vodka. This setup allows you to mix those two components in whatever proportions you want, and you pretty much end up with two full cocktails for the price of one. A handful of snacks like merguez Scotch olives and raw oysters are also available, but the cheese and yogurt-stuffed olives that come with the Dirty Zou might be the best snacks here.
The crowd seems very grown-up—as in you’re more likely to hear about PowerPoint presentations than any Intro to Sociology midterms coming up—so we’d call this place more “civilized” than “fun.” When you need a spot to unload to your coworkers about unrealistic sales targets (or whatever's causing you angst at work), you'll feel right at home at Chez Zou.