When plans for the industrial-chic food hall R. House were unfolding, the focus—rightly so—was on the cuisine. But, all the while, developers were keeping a keen eye on the bar program and had some specific people in mind to woo.
Enter R. Bar’s Aaron Joseph, who headed up the beverage program at Wit & Wisdom, and Amie Ward, who did the same at Aggio. Much like the mix in any good cocktail, Joseph and Ward strike a perfect balance. Joseph has always been drawn to bright flavors—think rum punch—leaning on his experience in the Caribbean. Ward, on the other hand, loves outside-of-the-box spirits and enjoys toying with grappa and amaro.
The menu at R. Bar (301 W. 29th St., 443-347-3570) reflects this duo’s taste and complements the dining options at the food hall, too—fitting since the 40-seat, square-shaped bar is the central focus of the space.
There is a rotating seasonal version of a Collins cocktail in which you can pick your own spirit (we loved the gin/cranberry combination), plus a cocktail with Ward’s stamp all over it—the Sexy Time, combining mezcal, amaro, house-made banana cordial, spearmint bitters, and balsamic vinegar, is full of flair and dynamic flavors.
Other innovative options include draft cocktails and milk punches. Joseph’s latest version of the latter, using rum, orange juice, lime, aloe liqueur, and horchata sourced from the neighboring Amano Taco stall, will immediately transport you to a tropical beach.
Also of note is the fun flow chart on the back of R. Bar’s menu that helps guests navigate their drink choice based on mood, time of night, and even relationship status.
One gripe is that the bar is the only spot in the food hall to order alcohol. On a busy Saturday night, that can understandably bog down bar staff. To alleviate the backup, it would be nice if some of the stalls could offer beer or wine.
But overall, we have been impressed with the creativity and inventive nature of the Remington food hall’s central bar—and we’d expect nothing less from the dream team that’s been assembled.