Death and Company
433 East 6th St
A small sit-only cocktail bar hidden in plain sight on a quiet residential street.
Death & Co. has no windows and allows no natural light. The space is dark and mysterious, suggesting the secrecy of a speakeasy. Its physical feel is meant to convey permanence and fool you into believing that it’s been here for a very long time. Mr. Kaplan, the owner, wanted to create an “old-world sort of feel, that sense of permanence,” a place that “doesn’t look new” but “looks elegant, classic, comfortable.”
The truth is that Death & Co opened in 2007 and while it isn’t the earliest pioneer of the craft cocktail bar revival in NYC, it has become one of the movement’s most influential establishments.
The morbid name has to do with an anti-alcohol propaganda flier handed out by the Anti-Saloon League movement in the end of 19th century. It illustrated man’s decline from casual drinking to the complete loss of dignity and, finally, to death due to alcoholism.
From the get-go, the owners enlisted bartenders from some of the city’s most serious drinking establishments. They also let them have complete control over the menu.
As a result, Death and Co. became the birthplace of many “modern classics” that are now served at bars all over the country.
The list of cocktails is almost excessively long and ever changing. Even if you visit regularly, you’ll have a hard time getting through the selection. This strategy works well for adventurous types curious to see what’s next.
Even though the place could be considered somewhat snobby, it earned it’s right to be so: tons of bitters are homemade, all juices are fresh, and there are five different types of ice.
The 54-seat venue is a must-visit destination for cocktail aficionados.