Excellent Coziness at the New Living Room
The new cocktail lounge the Living Room is on the lower curve of Olive Way where the Anne Bonny used to be. The Anne Bonny—a vintage shop—had the narrow storefront stuffed full of old trunks, odd furniture, and slightly off paintings. It was like the living room of your batty great uncle who'd foist miscellaneous treasures on you every time you visited, such that you'd come home with a necktie with horses on it or a strange old urn.
The Anne Bonny's now stuffed into a different spot not too far away on Summit Avenue, and the Living Room is more like the enviable loft apartment of your favorite cousin—the one who makes exceptionally good drinks and doesn't mind at all if you just stop by and sit and read. This cousin used to be goth and has mostly grown out of it, but couldn't resist the suedey chaise longue or the gilt-edged coffee table. The antique couch with the carved wood arms seems like it's cushioned with horsehair; it enforces good posture in a way that at first seems fatally uncomfortable, but then feels perfect on the spine.
The Living Room's favorite color is midnight blue. The most coveted seats are upstairs on an abundantly upholstered couch and chair, with the latter being big enough for two. For daytime, there's a skylight; for wintry nights, a glowing electric fireplace with a cherrywood mantelpiece that's capable of emitting actual heat. Understandably, people tend to set up camp here and stay for hours.
The bar, tucked in the back of the main floor, is the purview of Mi Suk Ahn, whom you might know from her fine drinks at Brasa, or, before that, the Alibi Room. She's an admirable combination of no-nonsense and friendly, and she knows her business. The modus operandi is for you to share your liquor preference, any loathings you may have (e.g., an inexplicable hatred of anise, or the inability to drink orange liqueur because of That One Time), and maybe your mood, and she'll make you something that'll set you to rights from the first sip. (It's the same deal as the "secret" upstairs bar at Tavern Law, but without the bordello-on-hallucinogens decor.)
The other very wet evening, a propensity toward brown liquor, combined with an antipathy toward anything too sweet, plus a chilled-to-the-bone feeling, yielded something Ahn is calling That Cherry Drink. It's Basil Hayden's, a little sweet vermouth, French cherry liqueur, sparkling wine, and a cherry soaked in bourbon long enough so that it sinks. You might not think you'd want that float of bubbly if you were cold, but you'd be wrong; the drink warmed weightlessly, with a little reminder that life could still effervesce.
The Living Room, 1355 E Olive Way, 708-6021