I live and work in Tribeca/Financial District and my friends and I always complain about the lack of good, cool places for after work drinks in the neighborhood. There are many top notch restaurants (Bouley's whole empire is mostly located below canal) and hip late night bars, but nothing really in between. So we welcomed the arrival of Macao Trading Company with open arms and scheduled a group happy hour there this week. We heard this place is a marriage between the Employee Only team and the Chanterelle crew and so had high hopes for the food, the cocktails and the atmosphere. The location is at Church and Walker and since it's the same folks as my fave bar Smith and Mills, I knew to look for a non descript, warehouse looking door with no signs. I know this sound totally pretentious but I like it when I can't find a place...it speaks to it's hipness. Once you walk in, the place evokes a colonial Asia style, with a large bar up front and a bi-level dining room towards the back. While I didn't eat anything, my friends who did said the food was great (small and big bites divided into Portuguese style and Chinese style...afterall, this is meant to be Macao circa 1940). I did try a few from the cocktail menu and liked the Blood Peach Belini (never heard of blood peaches but it was yummy) and Yellow Fever (not the best name for a drink but it's a bourbon based drink so enough said). Didn't like the Kaffir Jimlet but can't deny it's creativity (and popularity...it ended up being the drink of choice for the evening for most of my friends). So all sounds good right? My favorite friends gathered together in my hood enjoying an evening out at a cool new downtown destination? Ummm...not really actually. They had to go and ruin it by creating door drama for us. Basically, according to the doorman, starting at 8PM the place only lets in people with dinner reservations and enough people up to capacity for the bar area. Come on, we all know this is just code for "we are pretentious posers and will only let in hot chicks after a certain time." There isn't anything inherently wrong with that except...WE ARE IN TRIBECA. This is not the East Village OR the West Village. We are no where near the Lower East Packing District or the Meatpacking District. It's Tribeca where people are much older and wiser and richer. Give it a break and get real.
So, in closing, here's my report card for Macao Trading Company
- Atmosphere: A-
- Food: Supposedly A-
- Cocktails: A
- Door Drama and Attitude: F--
Now, you ask, what is the likelihood I will return? Ummm...probably medium to high. Yes, I am a sucker/sell-out but I am also a realist. There just isn't anywhere else to go in Tribeca.