Legendary Whiskey Bars: New York's The Flatiron Room - The Whiskey Wash

Legendary Whiskey Bars: New York's The Flatiron Room

Attempting to navigate the New York City bar scene is not for the faint of heart; while many cities typically have a handful of noteworthy whiskey bars, the Big Apple boasts countless offerings. So how does one go about distinguishing the institutions from the imitations? That certainly can depend on how long a place has been around. But in the city that never sleeps (and constantly on the precipice of the next best thing), The Flatiron Room has already proven itself among the greats.

Opened in September of 2012 by Tommy Tardie, the ‘fine spirits parlor’ is most distinguishable from other whiskey bars by its stage flanked by giant red velour curtains. Meant to enhance one’s sipping experience with ambient live background music, the Flatiron Room spares no attention to detail. Lockers above the booths house impressive selections of bottles, your favorite of which you’re welcome to purchase and sip as much as you’d like then store in the ‘Bottle Keep’ for whenever you’d like to return.

The Flatiron Room

image via The Flatiron Room

The marquee of the Flatiron Room (aside from the whiskey, of course), however, is the staff’s wealth of knowledge and attention to their guests. There was no room at the bar and the tables were all filled with reservations so I tucked myself by the mantle and was immediately greeted with a menu and water. I wanted to step outside my conventional order of a peated scotch and decided to try one of the many several tasting flights offered.

The “World Tour” immediately grabbed my attention – I had yet to try any of the six spirits. My server brought each bottle over and described each as he poured: a Kavalan ‘King Car Conductor’ Single Malt (40%) from Taiwan, a Brenne Single Malt (40%) from France, a Greenspot Single Pot Still (40%) from Ireland, a English Company Classic Single Malt (46%) from England, a Penderyn Madeira (46%) from Wales, and a Amrut Interm Sherry (57%) from India.

Considering the quality and price per bottle of the spirits in my flight, I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable it was. My server was genuinely interested in what I liked best (the Madeira was divine) and what I would have swapped (the English Co. was a bit too young for my taste), Afterwards, I finished with a classic cocktail you rarely see on speakeasy-style menus: a Bobby Burns made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, French sweet vermouth Dalin and Benedictine.

Another offering you won’t find at most whiskey bars is a “Whiskey School,” or classes that the Flatiron holds several times a month such as ‘Whiskey 101’ and Luxury Whiskies led by Heather Greene, New York’s very first official whiskey sommelier (tickets are available on their website). The interactive character of this establishment located in its namesake neighborhood clearly embraces inclusion of all whiskey drinkers from the novice to the expert.

If all of that wasn’t enough to convince you, the Flatiron Room was the 2015 Drammie winner for Best Whiskey Bar and comes recommended by the likes of Anthony Bourdain. Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made online.