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Whiskey-Lovers' 'Man Cave' Barley & Grain Opens on UWS

By Emily Frost | August 15, 2013 6:39am
 The restaurant has 100 different bourbons and whiskeys. 
Barley & Grain Opens on Amsterdam Avenue
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A local wine bar owner who's had no trouble attracting women to his Amsterdam Avenue vino joint has opened a new spot nearby just for the lads — using dozens of varieties of whiskies to draw patrons into his "man cave."

Bruce Kravetz saw streams of women and ladies on first dates flocking to his wine bar The Tangled Vine at West 81st Street before deciding the area needed something more testosterone-driven.

So when the Mediterranean restaurant Monaco across the street from the Vine closed in March, Kravetz jumped at the chance to create a whiskey-fueled antidote to his wine spot.

"We wanted to create an environment diametrically opposed to the female-oriented Tangled Vine," he explained, calling his new venture a "man cave."

Barley & Grain, which opened this month at West 80th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, boasts a bar menu featuring 100 whiskeys from the U.S., Scotland and Ireland, including 40 single malt scotches and 60 ryes, bourbons and American whiskeys. With another 20 microbrews and a "meat-centric" menu, Kravetz figured he wouldn't have any trouble luring in men.

But what he didn't count on was the excited response he's been getting from women since the restaurant's soft opening. 

"There's a lot of women drinking scotches and bourbons," he said, noting that he's also gotten patted on the back by men who say, "finally there's a place where I can come with my wife and she can have wine and I can have bourbon."

While there are plenty of wine bars and spots to drink fancy cocktails in the area, Kravetz said there was a gaping hole when it came to places that serve premium spirits.

"There are a number of destinations Downtown, like Brandy Library," he explained. "There isn't anything on the Upper West Side like that." That didn't make sense to Kravetz because, "this is one of the highest income levels in the city.

"We're trying to give people a reason to stay here," he added.

And food is nothing to snort at, either.

Items include the B&G burger, made with grass-fed Wagyu beef sitting atop a pretzel bun with New York cheddar, as well as beef poppers and crab cake sliders, said executive chef Eric Acklowitz, who most recently worked at a kosher steakhouse. 

Whiskey and bourbon also flow throughout the menu — from the single malt flambe on the smoked hanger steak to the bourbon demi-glaze on the rib eye, noted consulting chef Eli Kahlon, who has worked mainly in Mediterranean restaurants in New York City.

The restaurant is set to add sidewalk seating, bringing Barley & Grain's total seating to 86 — with 12 to 13 seats at the bar, 38 inside and 36 outside, he said.

Barley & Grain is open for brunch on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and daily for dinner at 5 p.m. It is open till 4 a.m. each night.