The Pinnacle Guide

Milady’s

New York City, USA

Once a New York dive, Milady’s has been gifted a new life as an elevated neighbourhood cocktail destination, all while paying careful attention to its history and soul.

Reservations recommended
Walk-ins welcome
Accessible venue

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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SOCIAL ENDEAVOURS

Milady’s is a business owned and led by women and works heavily with female/femme suppliers and producers. Many of the bottles on the back bar come from women, bipoc, and LGBTQIA+ distillers and producers. The team also love working with PM Spirits, a small company who source from other small intentional producers who have the best interest of humanity and the planet in mind.

DETAILS OF NOTE

The bathrooms at Milady’s have become a popular selfie location thanks to custom Flavor Paper wallpaper that features the inspirational pulp fiction covers. Titles include Singing Death, Don’t Ever Love, Curtains for Carla and many more. Another surprising touch is ‘Betty’ the rooster, which subtly changes colours throughout the evening, mirroring the disco ball lights that adorn the space.

The Pinnacle Guide

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Milady’s is a revived dive bar, a venue that was once a beloved institution in New York’s Soho for 50 years. Closing in 2014, it was a lucky turn of events in 2022 when new owners saw value in all that came before – having frequented the bar themselves in the 90’s and 2000’s, re-imagining it for the modern day while keeping its convivial neighbourhood vibe and a few of its best features.

Occupying a corner block, from the outside it appears like a classic brasserie with white-painted bricks and street-facing vintage windows. Inside the space is broken into three distinct zones, pieced together by a female-led design and architectural team which was vitally important to Milady’s owners as they ensured décor paid homage to the location’s past. While it’s generally a walk-in venue, guests will still be met by a host and either helped to a table, a spot at the bar or in busier times given the option of standing space. Aiming to embody a classic New York bar and restaurant that creates a place for connecting, conversing and imbibing, the seating area is warm and welcoming with earth tones, plush saffron-coloured booths and leather seats.

The original Milady’s logo is worked into the branding and the back room, once home to the dive’s infamous pool table, has a billiard theme with a custom light fixture made from pool ball racks, and an installation that incorporates old pool cues. There are bright colours throughout the space and, in a nod to the ‘everyone’s invited’ attitude, the bar has a landing for ongoing guest bartenders.

Milady’s is very intentional about its drinks, collating menus that blend neighbourhood dive and 90’s delusion with the elevated flavours and techniques of today. Cocktails that might be considered very unserious – Appletinis, jello shots, Cosmos – are made with the same reverence as an Old Fashioned, Hi-Ball or Daiquiri. To help with this, all syrups, infusions, acid adjustments and cordials are made in house. There is an extensive prep guide to ensure consistency, and the team are trained to make and taste everything before bottling or batching – adjusting recipes on a daily basis to take into account seasonal variety and ingredient ripeness. They aim for their drinks to be ‘closed-loop’ and almost every part of each fresh ingredient used is utilised in their cocktails. The in-house prep team are then extremely diligent about juicing exactly what is needed for each service to ensure the bar team are set up for success. 

While elevating the drinking and dining experience, Milady’s stays true to its neighbourhood status and blends great service with a high-energy experience in peak times. Playlists can vary from early 90s hip hop to 80s rock and roll to current hits and occasionally the bar welcomes local DJs to spin for an exciting night out for guests.

The hiring policy at Milady’s is very well considered. With a female ownership and management team that includes underrepresented groups, they look to interview a wide variety of candidates, and are very willing to hire and train inexperienced staff who may not have had the same resources some applicants have, in order to keep the team diverse. They strive to continually educate their team, whether that be in a group setting or one-one  – and offer lessons on more than just tending bar, for example finance and business acumen. 

To ensure Milady’s is relevant to more than just their regulars in New York City they invest time in their online community to promote events and bar collaborations – to show their passion within the bar industry to those only viewing via social media. Whenever they do host a special event they choose an organisation to donate part of the proceeds to – most recently TransLifeLine and their micro grant programme – as well as providing gift cards to local schools to support the Soho neighbourhood. 

"At this bar, the cocktails were a showcase of artistry and flavour experimentation. Each one embodied the bar's commitment to excellence and innovation."

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