Best perfectly crafted cocktails - 2006
East Side Company Bar - CLOSED
Run by the owners of the more exclusive Milk & Honey and the trendier Little Branch, Sasha Petraske (son of ex–Voice staffer Anita) and Carlos Santamaria's East Side Company Bar is the most egalitarian of the bunch. Though it's open to the general public (you don't have to go through the appointment-making rigmarole), it still feels as though you lucked into discovering this bar by walking down the street. Inside, it's both lush and minimalist, with tin ceilings reflecting the light cast by flickering candles. But the draw is the same perfectly crafted drinks Petraske became famous for—you won't find them at your neighborhood watering hole. We liked Bee Knee's (an East Side specialty), with gin, honey, and lemon juice, for $9, but for a well-made drink, nothing beats a classic olive martini (made whenever possible with Cerignola oversize green olives for $10). The strength of the drinks is not immediately obvious: You might think you're perfectly sober, but the alcohol sneaks up on you 15 minutes later. That's because the concoctions are so delicately drawn, it's like drinking a splash of heaven.