Like most Gabe Stulman spots, the seats here at Fedora are coveted–Happy Cooking restaurants are small west village rooms of limited, tightly managed seats. Fedora is sublevel, sexy. Beyond the saloon-style doors is a tireless space: tiled ceiling, smoked mirror, brass details. The bar runs the length of the exposed brick wall to the left; leather booths line the gallery wall opposite.
The woman who greets us at the door is smiling and friendly. She explains the barspace is for diners, “But I can offer you this lovely seat for two in the back,” she says. “It’s great people watching.” She opens her hand, gesturing to a wooden bench at the far side of the dining room.
“It looks like a church pew,” I tell my friend Logan.
“We’ll be sure to say our prayers,” he says.
Once seated, we’re attended to immediately. Everyone here is so nice, in a way that’s effortless, authentic. The server introduces himself to us by name, and makes conversation. Nobody’s in a rush. Their house negroni is made with Ford’s gin. I have two of them. Logan drinks Hendrick’s and tonic, double lime, his go-to beverage. Between drinks, the maitre d’ reappears to say she’s got a couple of spots at the bar she’d like to show us to, so we move.
Repositioned, we go for one more. The custom cocktails all have clever names: License to Dill (Ford’s gin, dill syrup, lime, cucumber); Let the Healing Begin… (Cocchi Americano, pisco, cachaca, seltzer, Pechaud’s); The Electric Meyhem (vodka, genepy, aperol, orange, lemon). All are $18. (Fedora is gratuity free.)
Amy Thought of it First (Reposado tequila, chile liqueur, PX sherry, lemon, hella smoked bitters, teamwork) is what I order. “But did she?” I say.
“She did,” the bartender says. He fills a chilled coupe with the cocktail, garnishing with a peel. It’s tangy and spicy and boozy but light–very satisfying. The sweet sherry and chile tango are my favorite components, but teamwork here makes it all a success.