If You Could Get Drunk at Disneyland: Rickhouse Review

awesome iphone photo by Miguel

awesome iphone photo by Miguel

Last night we attended the opening of Rickhouse, a new concept bar in the Financial District from the folks that brought you Bourbon and Branch (and unnecessary, rather embarrassing passwords).

I’ll be as frank as I was to the fellow behind me in line to pee: it’s a bit too Disneyland for me. He agreed. You know, when the ambiance is a little over-studied and just too perfect? I love the idea of a prohibition-era look and feel, but it’s like the girl who wears head-to-toe vintage with pillbox hat, gloves and all. Costumey. Artificial. Examples:

1. Barstaff is dressed to look like newsboys. I quite honestly would not have been surprised if, at one point, they all put down their shakers and started a full-on rendition of the musical Newsies. Seize the day! Caps, vests, fat ties in sloppy half-windsors. This may have been an opening-night only dress-up event…one would hope, most especially for the cocktail waitresses, who had a bizarre St. Pauly Girl look (the one detail that didn’t fit the time-space continuum).

2. Cocktail napkins are, I do not lie, made of burlap. Burlap. Because really, what is more absorbent?

3. Ice. This was actually rather impressive. Apparently, the owners tracked down some kind of real ice-cube making machine that makes these perfect 2 x 2 enormous cubes. Great when whiskey’s poured over, but ridiculous looking in a cocktail glass. It’s hard to explain, but the ice looked fake. Like plastic. It scared me.

4. Restrooms. I give them credit for unisex rooms, especially because there are only three. And each one is equipped with a pinkie-size peep hole to look in. Yes, you can watch someone pee while you wait. My, what a naughty twist! Not sure this went over too well with the ladies as there was a tampon stuck in one of them, blocking any peeping toms. I expect this to become standard, unfortunately for the design-concept.

It’s like a movie-set and I honestly think a place like this would do better in Las Vegas or LA. Of course, liquor is liquor and maybe the 9 to 5 set will take to it as a happy hour spot quite well.

Of course, if there were a badass roller-coaster ride somehow engineered in the back, I’d be thrilled and it might just be the happiest place on earth.

Overall, a little hokey.


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2 Responses to “If You Could Get Drunk at Disneyland: Rickhouse Review”

  1. Miguel Says:

    In defense of the Rickhouse:

    I for one really liked a lot of stuff about this place:
    1. The whiskey selection – I’m no connoisseur but I was impressed by the literal wall of choices, and the Laphroaig that I selected did not disappoint the palate
    2. Ice Cubes that are actually cubes – never before seeing these geometrical gems had it occurred to me that most of what passes for “Ice Cubes” are total frauds, never cubular, often not even rectangular. Why do we call round things cubes? I thought they looked great in the glasses and they were a great compliment to top-notch cocktail.
    3. The peep-holes Holden mentioned. I didn’t actually check them out myself but I love the concept and now I have a reason to go back.
    4. The waitstaff in general were nice, friendly, attractive and yes dressed to impress in a olden-timey way. I suspect that they dressed up for the opening, and the regular attire may be more relaxed but either way I say kudos for the attention to detail and effort. If there were people dressed as as big dogs or mouses, I would get the Disneyland reference but there were not and I don’t. (note: in particular there was a very cute petite cocktail waitress with curly hair – if you’re reading this, let me buy you a drink) [SFLOVESTORY is the new CL missed connections].
    5. I could probably think up some more stuff but these adventures left me a little hungover and this is already too long.

    Good luck to the proprietors. I think they’ve got a winner.


  2. Jeff Says:

    Well I think it is exactly what Kate said, FAKE.
    And what I am sick and tired of in my city is that every bartender now has to copy everyone drinks and are all on the same THEME. I mean really..
    The uniforms are stupid, the drinks, I had 10 of them in 2 days and no big deal, to be very honest, especially when you get bitters of some sort in nearly very drink.
    It is absolutely atrocious that someone can look in while you pee ! FUck this shithole…The ice is fine for whiskey only not every drink, burlad is fucking stupid as I needed to wipe my mouth.

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