Case Study: Amor y Amargo
Concept: Bitters Tasting Room and General Store
Location: East Village, NYC
Launched: March 21, 2011
Participation Ended: June 30, 2012
In February 2011, Bittermens was approached by DeRossi Global, a group that owns a number of bars and restaurants in New York City, to come up with concepts for a vacant 13 seat space in Manhattan’s East Village. This space had been occupied by a Cuban sandwich shop until late 2010, but closed when they opened a bar in the adjoining space that made the shop redundant.
We initially proposed the concept of converting the small space into a cocktail supply shop – selling barware that is actually used by professional bartenders as well as books and cocktail bitters. When we were informed that the space held a liquor license, we converted the idea to include a bitters tasting room – a cocktail bar focusing on bitter cocktails made with a selection of over 50 amari and other aperitif and digestif liqueurs. We approached long time friend and vermouth maker Mayur Subbarao to make a custom amber and sweet vermouths, the latter being served on tap.
Within the first 9 months of operations, the bar and shop received a significant amount of positive press:
- MetroMix names Amor y Amargo the best new bar in their 2012 awards!
- Paper Magazine names Amor y Amargo as one of their Top 10 Specialized Bars
- The Boiler-Bach, created by Avery Glasser for Amor y Amargo is named one of Tasting Table’s Best Cocktails of 2011
- The Française Four-Play, created by Avery Glasser for Amor y Amargo is listed in StarChefs and New York Magazine
- The bar was listed as a critic’s pick in Time Out New York
- Amor y Amargo was listed as one of the 45 Coolest New Businesses in NY by Business Insider
- Difford’s Guide awarded Amor y Amargo 4 1/2 stars
- Amor y Amargo was listed in World’s Best Bars
- In a public poll issued by The Dizzy Fizz, Amor y Amargo was listed as the fifth most popular bar to open in NY in 2011
- Amor y Amargo’s Alpine Afternoon is listed as Our 10 Best Cocktails to Drink Now by the Village Voice
- The Bittermens House Gin and Tonic at Amor y Amargo is listed as one of Time Out NY’s 100 Best Cocktails of 2011
- The Daily Meal‘s Naren Young lists Amor y Amargo as one of his five favorite places to get a Negroni
- Paper Magazine listed Amor y Amargo as their Bar of the Week
- The Wall Street Journal reviewed Amor y Amargo, saying “Amor y Amargo is the place to get geeky about bitters, the distilled herbs, peels and spices that give cocktails their oomph.”
- CBS New York names Amor y Amargo one of the best new bars of 2011
- The New York Times covers Amor y Amargo in its discussion about aperitifs
Bittermens created the initial concept and partnered with DeRossi to realize the project. Bittermens provided general management services for the bar and store until October 2011. Bittermens’ Avery Glasser provided services as the consulting beverage director and bartender until June 2012. Bittermens is no longer involved in the operations of Amor y Amargo.