LINCOLN SQUARE — The lights might be hot on the runway, but fashionistas looking for a place to cool down between shows can advantage of stylish Fashion Week drink specials at bars and restaurants near Lincoln Center.
From the ritzy Atlantic Grill to the more affordable Rosa Mexicano, thirsty patrons have been flocking to local water holes to sip on chi-chi cocktails featuring model-thin ingredients and prices to match.
"This is THE place to drink during Fashion Week, because it's a great escape from the madness," said fashion blogger and Chicago resident Patrice Yurskik about Rosa Mexicano on 62nd Street near Columbus Avenue, where she sipped a pineapple mojito with her friend.
"You can come right across the street and get a really strong cocktail during the afternoon, just to get you through the day," she added. "Plus, it's a great place to people watch, with all the designers coming through."
The drinks there were as easy on her wallet as they were on her nerves, she said.
"You have a lot of people who are...[on] a budget," Yurskik said. "You may have a fancy dress on, but that doesn't mean that everyone who comes to Fashion Week has a lot of money to spend on cocktails between shows."
Her favorite drinks at Rosa Mexicano are the margaritas and the mojitos — libations that are "refreshing, sweet and strong" — which go for $6 during Happy Hour, half off the normal price.
The Leopard et des Artistes also caters to the fashionable crowds that are watching their pocketbooks.
The Southern Italian restaurant, on West 67th Street and Central Park West, has rolled out a drink special in time for Fashion Week, in the form of fine wine.
For about $20, the restaurant has come up with "Uno Due Tre," a tasting of 3 different Italian wines, either in red or white.
The restaurant's maitre d', Giovanni Iovine, says that he hopes the special will pull in fashionistas, but also teach them a few things about the world's finest wines.
"The wine flight is very important for us to show off during Fashion Week," Iovine said. "For only a little money customers get to taste great wine."
Loi, a Greek restaurant on West 70th Street, has pulled out all the stops, just in time for the catwalk crowd.
Every Thursday, the restaurant offers "Goddess Night," where fashionistas and other ladies can enjoy half-price drinks all night, and on Mondays the restaurant features a complimentary Greek wine tasting for anyone sitting at the bar, according to sommelier Marco Devine.
The restaurant's fruit and elderberry-infused cocktails include the chic "Raspberry Bubbles," with rose champagne and raspberry vodka, "A Taste of Greece," made with fresh watermelon and "The Upper West Side," a minty-orange martini.
Even bars that don't offer specials specific to Fashion Week say they get a lot of foot traffic during the this time of year.
Servers at Cafe Fiorello, on 64th and Broadway say folks teeter over from the tents to enjoy their year-round specialty cocktails, including the caprese, a mixture of vodka and basil and the refreshing mint julep.
The hottest selling item at Jalapeno, an upscale Mexican restaurant, is the "Skinny Girl Margarita," a combination of Patron Citron, fresh lime juice and fresh orange juice.
"We use Patron Citron instead of Triple Sec, because it has less calories," a spokeswoman for the restaurant said.
Many restaurants say they see a tripling in business during the bi-annual event, which draws an estimated 230,000 people who spend about $770 million.
Not all Fashion Week attendants were thrilled with the selections, however. Some patrons said Thursday that the local bars and restaurants just weren't stylish enough for their tastes.
"What you need here is a better pop-up bar that serves champagne," said Italian-born Gaetano Sallorenro, while sipping on rosé at Cafe Fiorello.
Sallorenro, who was attending Fashion Week with his friend Edgardo Osoro, the shoe designer behind Aqua Zebra, said that he is accustomed to a little more class.
"We need more alcohol," he said. "Served to us. Right near the tents."