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Published August 20, 2012

Branching Out
Top-Flight Cocktails in Murray Hill

Funny thing about civilization—just when you think you’ve got it totally pegged, someone goes and builds the next great cocktail mecca... in Murray Hill.

And now you have to go to Middle Branch, a shining, dual-floored beacon of superlative cocktailery from Monsieur Petraske and the Milk & Honey/Little Branch folks, opening tonight.

These guys know how to create the hell out of a darkened, amorous imbibing spot that feels as old as time. Also, a gin-cucumber-lime-mint concoction you’ll be revisiting multiple times. And that’s what they’ve done here. Just a quaint, bricks-and-wood town house that looks like a school of philosophy or two might’ve been born there over modified Manhattans.

You’ll enter down a concrete flight of stairs into a standing-room-only English basement. Beeline to the bar. Tell them your spirit of choice. Then let them do their job. Now mingle. That’s the essence of downstairs—staking out a spot at one of the standing tables, surveying the land and asking someone who looks like they’ve got a story how they’re enjoying their drink.

Upstairs is different. There’s a wrought-iron balcony that has the amazing effect of making everything outside look impossibly charming. The ceilings are textured with floral patterns. The lights are pineapples. There’re seductive burgundy leather nooks and benches for three.

You know. For talking philosophy.
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