Literature and Libations: Where Reading Is Fundamental


So who lives in Tribeca, anyway? The answer to that question cannot be found at the Brandy Library, a lounge in the Atalanta building that’s set back from the street, making it feel like the Tribeca equivalent of a suburban-strip-mall bar and grill. Drawing Wall Street guys both old and youngish, it has a Ritz-Carlton lobby lounge vibe that’s intensified by theme park elements like cocktail waitress “librarians” traversing bottle-lined bookshelves on rolling ladders. Yet thanks to delicious fare, Brandy Library manages to evade full-blown “destination” schmaltz. The menu features such clever takes on bar food as “lambs in a blanket” ($14) and miniature alligator burgers accompanied by fries and a “brandy shake,” a mix of bourbon, vanilla vodka, and cream ($14). The catalog of brandies and whiskeys is stately enough to impress those who haven’t studied up; glasses start at $9 and are poured at your table by your librarian, who’s accompanied by a tray-wielding manservant. Signature cocktails like the Sis Fizz—an egg-cream-style froth of gin, egg whites, and lemon and lime juices—are delicacies too, and go for $13. Also for sale: Brandy Library cuff links ($82), a copy of the leather-bound menu ($125), and apparently, your cynical heart.

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