A Tesla-Inspired Cocktail Cave Hidden Behind an Unassuming NoMad Coffeeshop

With Cocktails Crafted by BlackTail and The Dead Rabbit Alums

By Ilana Dadras ·
Photo: Oleg March

It's night. This night. You find yourself in NoMad.

You see a sign—a neon sign, reading Patent Pending. It intrigues you, so you approach.

You spot a buzzer and dial 4-9-2-7. Later, when you see a spotlight shining onto a taxidermy pigeon and your drinking the best cocktails you've had in ages, you'll know why you dialed those numbers.  

Now let's talk about where you go from there...

Down through the now-closed, candle-lit coffeeshop you'll march: the space you'll find is called Patent Coffee, full of wood and marble and the lingering scent of almond croissants and cookies (that are baked hourly, by the way). You'll come back here another time. 

Through a heavy set of now-unlocked doors, you'll emerge all at once into a dark, sexy cave-like space. You'll make your way through the alcove full of low-hanging lanterns and into a nicer version of the bar you'd hoped to find here: it really is that good-looking. Rows of bare bulbs and exposed brick give it a cave-like atmosphere. You'll either slide into a deep teal curved leather booth or a couple of royal blue diner stools—depending on who you're with. 

Now's when a bartender will hand you a booklet full of cocktails crafted by Harrison Ginsberg and Nick Rolin: cocktail connoisseurs and veterans of BlackTail and The Dead Rabbit. They're behind this menu divided into four Teslian-inspired categories: Energy, Frequency, Vibration and Descent—headers written above Teslian-inspired names like the Hit By a Taxi (Japanese whisky, Armagnac, sweet vermouth, pu’erh tea, curacao, star anise) and Radio Waves (tequila, mezcal, agricole rhum, basil, Thai chile, lime, cucumber). You'll ask what all the Tesla stuff is about, and someone will tell you you're sitting in the historic Radiowave Building, where Nikola Tesla once called home and lab. It all makes sense now. Well, it will after someone tells you the taxidermy pigeon is an homage to the fact that Tesla spent a great portion of his life in love with a pigeon. Now it all makes less, but also more sense.

One or three expertly crafted cocktails in, you'll need food—a desire to be quelled by a bacon grilled cheese or jalapeño-topped beef and bean chili. 

That's one way tonight could go, anyway.

Patent Pending, now open, 49 W 27th St (between Broadway and 6th), 212-689-4002, see the menu and the slideshow

Ilana Dadras

Ilana Dadras passes her days writing about good food, talking about good food and consuming good food. Occasionally doing other things, too.

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