The New York craft cocktail scene is a small knit community. You can usually trace the people behind one cocktail bar to a handful of spots that have revolutionized the cocktail scene in the last few decades. In the case of Bar Goto, Kenta Goto worked for almost a decade at Pegu Club, one fo the defining cocktail bars in the city. After working under Pegu owner Audry Saunders (who worked under Rainbow Room's Dale DeGroff), Tokyo native Goto decided to open his own place in the Lower East Side.
Now Goto will himself inspire many other bartenders who will no doubt go on to open their own mixology dens. And the chain will continue.
Japanese culture has been a big influence on modern day craft cocktails (one of the first serious cocktail bars in the city is Angel's Share, which is still going strong in the East Village) and Goto is pushing that legacy even further.
All of the cocktails feature a Japanese ingredient, like yuzu, shiso, or matcha. The simplicity of his Sakura Martini (saké, gin, maraschino, and a cherry blossom) is a perfect way to start or end a night. And a Japanese take on a Bloody Mary called Umami Mary with vodka, miso, shiitake mushrooms, and clam juice is breathtaking.
Cocktails aren't the only things on the menu. Bar Goto has a serious saké and wine selection. They have also received almost as much notoriety for their Japanese food menu as they have for their cocktails. A perfect pairing with any of the potables is one of the varieties of the decadent cabbage pancakes called okonomiyaki. Also, be sure to get a plate of the addicting miso chicken wings.
The small bar is sleek and modern with an intimate atmosphere. It's a great place to come with a date, a small group, or for a solo nightcap at the bar.
It's around the corner from The Late Late, the final stop on our Craft Cocktail Tour. And we would be lying if we told you our guides don't sometimes stop by Bar Goto for one last perfectly balanced drink before the subway ride home.
245 Eldridge Street
New York, New York 10002