Anyone who spent time on the Bowery twenty years ago would barely recognize it today—boutique hotels, luxury condos, and restaurants galore. Peels is the latest edition to 2010's Bowery, occuping a bi-level space on the corner of East 2nd Street, created by William Tigertt and Taavo Somer, the team behind Freeman's. The decor and feel of Peels is a far cry from the dark, taxidermy-filled Freeman's, however; it's light, open, and airy. Yana Volfson, the head bartender, hypothesized that if Freeman's, which is very masculine, were to have a girlfriend, it would be Peels.Looking closely at Peels' menu, you'll find a nod to the old Bowery. East 2nd Street is now also known as Joey Ramone Place, and one of the offerings on the cocktail list carries his name. Yana spent a great deal of time researching the rocker, revisiting his music and listening to interviews, before ultimately settling on his namesake libation. She learned that Ramone often drank Tanqueray and Tonics—a simple drink—so she wanted to make a simple drink that would appeal to a wide audience. Ramone's given name was Jeffry Ross Hyman, and using the initials JR led her to a variation on a Jack Rose, swapping out the grenadine with an all-American concord grape syrup, dovetailing nicely with Peels' American cuisine, and adding a touch of sweetness and a lovely purple hue. Go sit at the bar, raise a glass in his honor, and remember the days when we were all a bit more punk rock.
325 Bowery, New York NY 10003 (map)