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“I don’t want to spoil the surprise,” says Joshua Kaiser, co-founder with Jamie Hinojos of Jbird Cocktails. But then he did.
With no shortage of speakeasy-style cocktail lounges around these days, the Jbird team is launching three. The first, opening tonight, can be found hidden down a hallway at XVI, a nightclub that looks out over the bright lights of Times Square. The second, expected to open by September, will be tucked behind an espresso bar and newsstand on the Upper East Side. (Notice a trend?) The third is planned for the Financial District, where a location suitable for the faux-storefront concept is currently being scouted.
Jason Littrell, of Death & Co., and Marshall Altier, who helped launch the Crosby Bar, are behind the cocktail list. Kaiser says they’ve been testing recipes for some time, “experimenting with boiling cinnamon bark and freezing sage.”
Jbird East, the Upper East Side location, will feature an “in-kitchen culinary theater,” or chef’s table, with two pre-sold seatings during the week. On weekends, the kitchen will open to the public for a 1 a.m. “industry staff meal.”
Kaiser, a partner in the Pink Elephant nightclub, says he “wanted to transition into a more grown-up medium. I’ve outgrown dancing on tables.” His partner, Hinojos, has worked at B.R. Guest. “We’re not in it for the money,” claims Kaiser. “We have other projects for that. This is for the love of the game.”