The Cognac Room bar. Photo by R. Brad Knipstein Photography.
The Calvados Negroni. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.
Pineapple Apricot Tropical. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.
A report by associate editor Dana Eastland. ~GASPAR BRASSERIE~ just celebrated their first anniversary, and to celebrate they are relaunching the upstairs bar, The Cognac Room, which offers a wide selection of brandy, Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, eau-de-vie, pisco, and grappa. They’ve brought on lead bartender John Codd to create an extensive menu of brandy-based cocktails, and I recently had the chance to meet with him and sample a few of his drinks. Codd previously worked at The Slanted Door and The Coachman, and before that he was at 15 Romolo. His new cocktails include eight signature drinks created for the Cognac Room, along with 40 other brandy-based cocktail classics that have been gently updated.
The menu is organized into six categories: Cognac, brandy, Armagnac, Calvados, pisco, and eau-de-vie and grappa. In addition, the menu opens with the signature cocktails; you can see the whole menu right here. It’s an extensive menu, and the knowledgeable staff does a great job of walking you through the various brandy varieties. To start, begin with the Calvados Negroni, made with Calvados in place of gin just in time for Negroni Week. Or, for something a bit lighter, consider the French 75, with Cognac, lemon, and sparkling wine.
The exploration continues with the Cognac category, where the Champs-Élysées features Cognac along with Chartreuse, lemon, and Angostura and orange bitters. As you move into pisco territory, the Pineapple Apricot Tropical with pisco, lime, pineapple gum, orchard apricot, and Angostura bitters offers a refreshing break from the ubiquitous pisco sour (don’t worry, they’ve got a version of that, too, and it’s delicious).
In addition to the cocktail options, general manager John Allen has created a large spirit list organized by region, with selections from all over the world. For those curious about brandy, there will be flights of different varieties available, including pisco and Armagnac. As for food, Gaspar’s menu will be available at the bar, though it’s a pretty sexy, dimly lit space for a full meal—I’d stick with appetizers and smaller dishes. Chef Chris Jones is working on a special bar menu of smaller plates, as well, including a delicate truffled egg custard served in an eggshell.
The space was designed by owner Franck LeClerc and architect Elmer Lin of Consortium Design, and has a great old-school vibe. For more details on the design, check out this tablehopper piece about its opening. Hours are Sun-Tue 4pm-10pm and Wed-Sat 4pm-11pm, with a happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm.