Situated not-so-coincidentally close to corporate giants Viacom, Time Inc., and Lehman Brothers, a place like Sortie is conceived for one purpose only: drinking on your Fortune 500 company’s dime. Ah, blessed perks before jumping back on the hamster wheel! Bully the boss into coughing up his precious baby, oh illustrious corporate card, and let the gross over-ordering commence. The 30 microbrew or imported beers ($7 to $11), conveniently organized by country and lager/ale/wheat delineation, are a nice start; you’ll rarely find such a sweet selection of Lambics and wheat ales outside a specialty beer pub. Do like the suit-and-tied brothers next to us and avail yourself of the tapas menu, featuring salmon gravlax and the ubiquitous spring roll. An entire accounting department can be tucked into the velvet banquettes that line both sides of this red-walled bar, so there’s no more squeezing your entire floor into a dive on Ninth; the sky-lighted back room, obscured by palm fronds, is clearly designated for crusty water-cooler work romances blossoming into “something more.” Yecch.
Less work was put into the sound track (what the hell—is that SADE?) than the cocktail menu, but we’ll forgive—because they muddle things here, kids. That’s right, muddle—although don’t ask us what the point of crushed fresh fruit is in a drink you spike with Stoli Ohranj anyway. Same goes for the rest of the menu, although we were quite fond of the “James and the Giant Peach.” Cutesy name aside, any cocktail that starts off with white peach puree can never really go wrong, even at a pricey $11. Take that, foul mid-level I.T. job.