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Picture Austin Powers and Donna Reed on Trading Spaces. The groovester would cover the hausfrau’s rumpus-room walls with white shag carpet, suspend globe lights from the ceiling, stick cushions on the fans, and mod-ify the Tupperware chairs and bar stools. Then he’d give his handiwork a sexy name: Shag, of course.
But don’t let Shag’s trendy look and prime location deceive you. Unlike many of its West Village brethren, this place backs up cool decor with a fun, modestly priced menu and a super-friendly staff—plus a quirky music mix worthy of its disco ball.
On a recent visit, the most memorable cocktail was a French martini ($8) made with Absolut vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice. Ask to replace the Absolut with Cîroc (a French vodka distilled from grapes) for a grapey edge and a perfect frosty foam on top. The mango cosmo ($8)—not overbearingly sweet like so many of its ilk—satisfied taste buds with tart flecks of ice. A variation on the classic gin ‘n’ juice, the Fancy Nancy ($5) blended layers of flavor (Tanqueray gin, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and bitters) that started out dissonant, but finished like a major seventh chord. Shag’s saucy bar food also impressed. Pigs in Bondage ($5), wieners baked in puff pastry, came with Chinese mustard, and Foxy Fries ($4), brown-paper-cone-wrapped pommes frites, stood out when devoured with the lavender-infused barbecue dip.
Donna: ” ‘Oh oh oh, it’s magic.’ I hear the 1974 Pilot superhit.” Austin: ” ‘Never believe it’s not so,’ baby.”