Following the heartbreak of the Mercury Dime saga, craft cocktail maven Sasha Petraske is heading north. He plans to open a cocktail lounge at Lexington Avenue and 39th Street called Hi-Note (or The Hi-Note; he hasn’t decided yet) featuring live jazz on weekdays. The plan was to open soon, but a kink in the financing has delayed the new joint.
“My financing disappeared,” says Petraske. “Left the country, actually.”
He’s actively searching for investors, and hopes to be able to open Hi-Note within the next two months. The atmosphere of the place will be similar to that of Little Branch, he says, which has a piano, whose ivories get tickled for tipplers’ enjoyment. The new place will have more of a late-1950s aesthetic, serving drinks in the $12-$15 range.
“I don’t want to say Mad Men,” Petraske notes. “But, well, that kind of thing.”
A Midtown clientele may sound like a leap for Petraske, but he asserts that Milk & Honey regulars travel in from uptown and beyond. His desire to open a jazz joint stems from a love of the genre and a fascination with the 1920s and ’30s, which actually piqued his interest in cocktails to begin with. He admits to a nostalgia for a socialist past he was too young to have experienced himself, one in which “people were naive enough to see the world in black and white.”
So, how does he see the world these days?
“After Mercury Dime, I’m a little traumatized about downtown,” Petraske admits. (His East Village coffee shop was never able to nab a liquor license, which eventually doomed it.) “I grew up downtown, so I’m a little disappointed. But there’s some interesting stuff north of 14th Street.”
Perhaps Hi-Note will add to the interesting. If only he can secure some cash to back it.