The Garret
The Garret
Neighborhood: West Village
Bar Type: Cocktails / Casual Lounge

Why, you ask, would I have a photo of a Five Guys in a bar review? Well, The Garret is a very special bar. In the fact you need to walk through the Five Guys to get to it. Yes, it’s a speak easy of sorts. But, really, it’s just one of those situations where someone found a cool upstairs space and realized there was no actual way to build an exterior entrance. So you do what you do in urban America. Honestly, think about it: how many second-story bars do you know of in NYC whose first story isn’t also that bar? It’s unique in that way. And pretty surprising that some developer hasn’t figured out a way to tear down this valuable chunk of real estate and turn it into a six-story luxury apartment or something. Zoning here must be a biatch.

So now that you’ve figured out the secret of The Garret, what’s it like as an actual bar? Pretty chill, actually. Full transparency, we came here early evening after work during the low-evening sun, so the vibe was already magic-hour-ish and relaxed. I can’t speak to the crowds that might overrun this joint on a Saturday night or anything, but the very organic-feeling space with its worn wood, brick and shabby-chic chandeliers, plant tendrils and copper-stamped ceiling gives the space a very cozy, vintage feeling that kind of makes you want to imbibe a nice Manhattan or Old Fashioned. Begs you, in fact. Being on the second/top floor does give the bar the advantage of these two large tented skylights that really open the space. That and the well-placed vegetation give a little bit of garden vibes to mix with the more design-y opulence of the crystal lighting.

When it comes down to it, this is a bar. It’s relatively un-gimmicky, but professionally run and, based on the small sample size, pretty adult. The music was subdued and appropriately hipster, the mixed leather and wood seating very early Restoration Hardware and the drinks well-mixed and served with a smile. The West Village is a cool place to bring your cousin from Boston, so why not stop at The Garret for a nice happy hour drink in a joint he’ll think you “discovered.” You can tell him that; he’ll have no idea. He’ll just be impressed and think you’re cool while he pretends to like that sidecar he ordered because he heard someone order one in a movie once.

296 Bleecker St. (at 7th Ave. S.)