DRINK: Sweetwater Social [NYC]


A couple of weeks back a new bar opened on Broadway and Bleecker called Sweetwater Social.  I looked it up that day and found an article that described the new bar to be.  It was said to be a cocktail bar that isn’t stuffy but fun and a little fratty almost.  I was immediately intrigued because I love cocktail bars and the spot is in an interesting location.  I don’t spend loads of time around Broadway and Lafayette when I’m out on the weekends but I was interested to check it out.

A friend and I went on opening day on Wednesday and had a bit of trouble finding it.  I knew the address was 643 Broadway but the descriptions online all mentioned that it was on the corner of the street, which technically it is  because it’s actually underground, but we didn’t realize that.  So if you’re looking for it, it’s next to Bleecker Kitchen & Co. and you go downstairs (there’s a bouncer at the top of the stairs) but the two spaces actually share an address.  A little confusing if you are looking for Sweetwater Social.  Maybe eventually they will put a sign out, or perhaps they like the mystique of it.

We walked in, and granted it was a Wednesday night that also happened to be opening night, it wasn’t super packed.  It was around 8pm and two nice guys sitting at the bar offered for us to sit down.  So far so good.  I liked the feeling of the bar immediately, it’s very romantic and dimly lit but already you could tell the bartenders were having fun joking around with each other, wearing I Heart NY t-shirts.  So far I am in agreement that the vibe is fun cocktail bar.  We look at the drink menu.

All of the drinks are named after subway stops in the city.  Pretty cool idea, a little kitschy, but it’s not as much about the name of the drinks as what it actually tastes like and how it’s prepared, right?  I forget what I even order, the name of it, but it’s a whiskey cocktail.  Surprise surprise.  The bartender we had that night was honestly not incredibly friendly and she was almost a little annoyed it seemed.  In a cocktail bar, or one that claims to be one, I expect the bartenders to be incredibly knowledgeable and willing to talk to you about what you are looking for, etc.  We did not get that impression.


The drinks come, and they’re ok.  I honestly wasn’t overly impressed–but maybe I should have ordered a Manhattan or something.  Whatever I ordered was too sweet.  Also, they use those paper straws that look awesome, but when you’re drinking from them they kind of have a papery taste that  I didn’t care for.  We both ended up taking them out.

All in all, I like this bar and would definitely come back, I just don’t think that it lives up to the cocktail bar turned fun space to hang out.  To me it just felt like a regular bar.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’d be interested to come back on a weekend night or maybe a bit later.  But the atmosphere is cool, the location is nice, and it did seem like a fun place to have a few drinks.  Their bar menu will be investigated for sure next time, I saw some good looking french fries too – I simply cannot resist.

Sweetwater Social
643 Broadway
New York, NY 10012