One of the many things I love about this city is that if the timing is right, things can happen on a whim. Bringing together a group of friends with drastically varied schedules from offices spanning the width of midtown Manhattan can be an impossible feat. But on one of the cooler evenings last week, our schedules aligned and four of us managed to save-the-date for a Wednesday happy hour. Coming from the Garment District, 5th Avenue, Midtown East and Gramercy, we took a hop and a skip (and almost a jump, but not quite) down to TriBeCa’s Ward III.
Like any decent venue in New York, Ward III’s exterior is plain, unassuming and unannounced. It would be possible to just stumble upon it, but it’s more likely you’ll get there if you know exactly where it is. Lucky for me, we live in an age where Google Maps exist on cell phones. So, although I was running late as usual, I managed to find my way to Ward III just in time for a toast to the reunited friends.
Recently reviewed by the New York Times, Ward III takes the trend of a unique cocktail list to a new level with the claim that they can make a drink from any ingredient. We were a little too worn out from our extremely full days at the office, so we opted for the set beverage menu that was unique – but not, as the other half of the menu is labeled, bespoke. The drinks were delicious (as was the guac & tortilla chips appetizer we chose to accompany the cocktails), the lighting was appropriately dim, and the company, as always, was delightful.
It would have been the perfect happy hour, except for the apparent necessity for screaming. Ward III pulls off rustic chic fabulously, and even throws in a little reminder of the office by placing their menu in a worn, red file folder. But I have to say, the music was a tad too loud. I go to happy hour to drink, to chat and to laugh. Telling a story over someone else’s laughter at the next table is one thing – telling it over a thump-a thump-a that would do any gay club proud is another. I actually stayed quiet for most of the evening (which, if you know me, is fairly rare), because on that particular day, I didn’t have the energy to yell my story across the table. When I tried to explain to C that I was going to Pennsylvania the next weekend, he asked “Las Vegas?” while looking at me quizzically. After the third time he finally got it. J reported the next day that her throat was sore by the time she got home; she had spent the evening telling us about her trip to Hawaii. Again, rustic chic, divine menu, but just too loud.
Michael J. Neff, Kenneth McCoy and Abdul Tibani, the men behind Ward III / Photo Credit: Ward III
However, on another evening, when I am less drained from juggling two jobs and searching for a roommate (which seems like a full-time job in itself!), I may go back to Ward III. The challenge and adventure of throwing an ingredient at the bartender to see what kind of delicious concoction he will present is too much of a New York opportunity to pass up. And after all, those New York moments are what I live for!