56 Belden Place
Hard to find factor : 2
1 Not too bad
2 Takes some searching
3 Ask a native
4 Bring a map
Neighborhood: Financial District
On the downlow since: Since 2004
Vodka Tonic: Purists and posers alike can’t help but be down with Voda’s knack for mixing, shaking and stirring up some fabulous fermented grain. The connoisseurs will get their palate’s worth of the famous colorless liquor, with choices that range from a glass of Crystall, a Russian grain vodka with grapefruit zest and a smooth almond finish, or go Polish with Kompleet, which imbibes a refreshing citrus opening with a vanilla finish and a touch of cacao. And sure, vodka vixens might snub us when we dare taint such purity with fruits and other confections, but we can’t help it. You tell us how we’re supposed to pass on either the Pomegrante Sunset or the Honey Bee, a soothing blend of honey, vodka and lemon, so great, we’ll never cure our sore throats with tea again. Ever.
Outdoor Living Room: The interior of Voda Lounge feels like that of a space-aged bachelor pad, which is a very good thing. We loved the cool and slick interior; a maze of perfectly rectangular sofas that made us feel like James Bond was going to sit next to us any second. But the best part is that a portion of this posh interior has made it outside. That’s right, just like all the other restaurants on Belden Lane that boast outdoor seating, so too, does this luscious vodka lounge.
From Russia, With Love: One would think, or at least we thought “voda” was some kind of affectionate nickname for the former Soviet Union’s vodka. Actually, “voda” is Russian for water and not only accounts for the lounge’s H20-inspired interior, but we can’t help but think it’s a little play on vodka’s thirst-quenching similarities to its fresh spring counterpart and how the top-shelf iced variety can be thrown back better than a sports drink.
Know any hidden gems? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your favorite off-the-beaten path haunts.