After opening the door of Drexler’s (9 Avenue A; 646-524-5226), you might be hit with a dose of Southern charm, but it’s the taste of meat, cheese, and cocktails that managing partner Darin Rubell and beverage director Dustin Olson really want you to notice. Beyond the décor of antique sconces and reconfigured church pews, which are inspired by cities like Charleston and New Orleans, the team behind Bushwick’s Forrest Point really just wants people to feel at home in their own East Village neighborhood.
“It’s eminently accessible, but it’s also specific in what we’re offering,” Olson tells the Voice. The “specific” Olson is talking about can be found on the one-page, checklist-style menu, where guests can select from seasonally changing charcuterie, cheese, bread, and veggies.
Charcuterie is sourced locally from Mangalitsa by Møsefund Farm, and the current menu features soppressata, coppa, and hunter-style salami. Cheeses range from a bowl of whipped ricotta with truffle honey to the creamy Danish cheese mycella, with breads such as naan available for dipping or smearing. The succinct menu depends on quality ingredients, particularly for Olson’s cocktails.
“For me, Drexler’s is an opportunity to kind of bring everybody along to the cocktail party that’s been going on the last sort of fifteen years,” Olson says. Drinks here dive into the classics, with a focus on the seasonality of familiar ingredients. Currently, barflies can choose a gin-based bee’s knees or a mezcal especial made with ginger and lime. A barrage of brown spirits is scheduled to make its way onto the menu post–October 1.
However, one look at the vintage bathtubs packed with canned beers makes it abundantly clear this isn’t a place full of cocktail snobbery. To help dispel the myth that serious cocktails are the solo venture here, there’s even a drink — dubbed the “Employee of the Month” — made for two. On the beer front, Kelso Brewery is working with the restaurant on a seasonally changing brew to accentuate the craft options on tap. As for the name? “It ended up being a unique name with a familiarity to it, so I think that’s what stuck most with us. There were a couple of signs that led us there,” Rubell explains. One of those signs is from an old apothecary with a similar name, a perfect fit for a space looking to provide a cure with cocktails.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 9, 2015