There has been much hype of late about the opening of the Blue Ribbon Downing Street Wine Bar (can you have a longer name for a smaller place?) this past week in NYC. The bar happens to be on my block in the West Village (right down the street from Blue Ribbon Bakery) and I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival for going on 6 months now. I am not privy to the issues that may or may not have taken place while constructing the tiny, almost perfectly square space but I will say that I have seen at least one other business move out of location, put a "for lease" sign up in the window, find a tenant and have a grand opening in the time that it took for this miniscule spot to paint the exterior. That said it is beautifully done both inside and out, right down to the light wood chosen for the walls, the raw lighting and the completely hidden entrance to the restroom.
I stopped in on Valentine's Day eve, the second night the bar was "unofficially open" (the kitchen is not completely done yet) to see what I have to look forward to. The bar was predictably packed and the windows fogged over, giving the place an air of anonymity. Perhaps that is why Julianna Margolis and her youngish male companion looked so contented sitting amongst a crowd of unmoved Manhattanites at the bar. The staff was extremely welcoming and the wine list, although there was a little too much commotion for me to dig into it, looked like it had a lot of decent options. The small plates, some recognizable from other Blue Ribbon menus and some new, seem the perfect accompaniment to the list.
This is honestly one of the smallest spaces I have ever seen in New York (which is saying something) and I “worry” that, although I live practically across the street, I will be unable to score the aptly name "Gold Coast" bar po by the windows. Further more, will I ever be in the mood to cram myself in to the congested space simply for a glass of wine and a toast point? I hope it doesn’t come to that but I suppose I am doing myself a disservice by blogging about it in the first place. Well, I can always head across the street at 5pm when the bar opens, score myself a bar stool and let people pack themselves in around me. Now that’s more like it!
Blue Ribbon Downing Street Wine Bar
34 Downing St., New York (btwn Bedford & Varick)
5pm – 2am