In 2017, Brian Grummert and Leslie Feinberg joined forces to take over the neighborhood bar Subject. Brian had worked at the bar under the previous owner Matthew Rush and lived in the neighborhood. Matt tragically passed away in 2016 and the fate of the bar became uncertain.
Leslie had been operating Prohibition Bakery, which has been a highlight of our Craft Cocktail Tour from the very beginning, at a storefront one block over. Right around the time the landlord of that storefront decided to raise the rent, Leslie was forced out of the space. Having a background in the bar industry, she joined forced with her friend Brian to keep Subject running. And she moved the base of the cupcake company to the bar.
Some locals remember this as a Phish bar. Matt was a huge fan of the jam band and would live-stream any of their recorded shows. Today it has a slightly different vibe. The theme of subject is fittingly books and stories. The menu is laid out by different chapters and all their check presenters are actually books written by one of the bartenders.
One thing that has not changed is the focus on quality ingredients and strong techniques when it comes to making cocktails. We stop by the bar on Monday nights of our Craft Cocktail tour and we love introducing people to cocktails like the Hot Not Cray, a winning combination of tequila, ancho chili liqueur, grapefruit, and lime or the boozy Society Street, which features bourbon, cognac, sweet vermouth, and peach liqueur.
Subjct is always lively with a wonderful mix of locals and provides a comfortable vibe to hang out, have incredible drinks, and mingle with some local culture.
Subject is a place that is not listed in any of the cocktail guidebooks about New York, but it's a warm, welcoming neighborhood bar with pinball machines, board games, and an amazing staff. And the most incredible part is in this modest comfortable setting, you will find drinks as good and as well-constructed as at any of the hot spots with hour long waits around the city.
188 Suffolk Street
New York, New York 10002