Before PDT, Death & Co, and the whole let’s-use-atomizers-and-make-bespoke-ice thing took off, there was Temple Bar. This Nolita spot opened in 1989, then closed in 2017, and now it’s back in its original location under new management. The space maintains its old hardwood-Art-Deco feel, but the cocktail program feels completely up to date—largely on the strength of a long martini list and a Blue Negroni, a beverage that’s equal parts 1990s and 2020s. But you don’t come here for the drinks. Those are more of an added bonus. You come to lounge at a small table in what is possibly the darkest room in Manhattan while you pick at some complimentary popcorn and try to make out the facial features of someone sitting five feet away from you. (Are they famous? Probably not. But they might be big on TikTok.) There aren’t many tables here, but there is a bar area up front that’s slightly less dim and equally as loud. Just know it’ll be hard to find a seat in either space, so make a reservation.
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