The next time you’re stuck in Midtown Manhattan and need a drink (because you’re stuck in Midtown..) sneak on over to Middle Branch.
This unmarked watering hole, one of the only craft cocktail bars in Murray Hill, just celebrated 5 years in the business and already has an impressive history. The late founder, Sasha Petraske, is credited for single-handedly launching the craft cocktail revolution. In 1999, New Yorkers were drinking apple martinis, cosmopolitans and Long Island iced teas. Channeling his love for the elegance and culture of the pre-Prohibition era, Petraske opened one of the first modern speakeasies called Milk & Honey. He later opened the sister bars Little Branch, Middle Branch, and Dutch Kills in NYC as well as the Everleigh in Melbourne, Milk & Honey Soho in London, and The Varnish in LA.
Today, Middle Branch is one of the most popular bars for a first date, namely through Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. And bartenders have no shortage of tales of people getting stood up, the blossoming of new romances (first dates that become regulars), and couples who have come in just to swap partners and go home with dates from a table next to them.
We caught up with Dan Q. Dao for the scoop and a drink. Originally from Houston, Texas, this cutie has lived in NYC for 7 years and pays his rent as a spirits, travel, and culture writer. Currently he is the Deputy Digital Editor at SAVEUR Magazine and moonlights at Middle Branch as a bartender and consultant.
Because we trust Dan's taste so much, we’ve teamed up to present SAVEUR-approved spots so you can drink in style across the globe. More suggestions coming soon.