With city real estate a tall order, unusual bar locations are on the rise. One recent standout is GreenRiver, which calls the top floor of a medical office building home.
While GreenRiver is often referred to as “the bar in a hospital,” head bartender Julia Momose says she likes to note that alcohol has historically been used as medicine, making the bar’s location surprisingly apropos.
Though the concept sees a fair share of medical professionals coming off of a shift, most of its regulars are actually local residents seeking libations, Momose says.
A few months after opening last fall, GreenRiver—a collaboration between the events arm of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and The Best Bar in the World, the consulting firm run by Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon of New York City bar The Dead Rabbit—launched a smaller-format sister bar within its space on the 18th floor.
Annex at GreenRiver, which seats 30, helps divert some traffic from the main bar during busy periods, as it’s open on Thursday through Saturday evenings after 6 p.m.
Annex’s menu is more of an “ingredient study” than that at the main bar, and is presented in the style of a wooden recipe box, with each of its 12 offerings displayed on a separate card, Momose says. It’s also geared toward those who are feeling more beverage-forward, offering only snacks from GreenRiver’s menu, such as whitefish tartine with celery, radish and egg.
To give guests a clear idea of what they’re ordering, each card includes a straightforward description and a hand-drawn illustration of that drink’s central ingredient. Cards are arranged so that customers can progress through a drinking experience, with lighter, more refreshing drinks at the front and darker, more dessert-style drinks in the back.
While food and drink pairings at GreenRiver are suggested upon request, Momose says, she requires some conversation before offering one, knowing that personal preferences can make what appeals to some customers taste to others like bitter medicine.
Photo Credit: Francis Son