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Weather Up Tribeca

Weather Up Tribeca is the second branch of a popular Prospect Heights cocktail lounge, named for owner Kathryn Weatherup. Like many of its breathren, it occupies an unmarked storefront: I walked right by it, and onto the next block, before realizing I’d gone too far.

The attractive space is dark and deep, with plenty of booth and bar seating, and a high ceiling covered in subway tile. It has “date place” written all over it. But my initially favorable impression quickly turned to dismay, when I sat down on one of the bar stools, which are permanently attached to the floor. I was left with the choice of sitting straight up, with the bar an uncomfortable distance away; or bending over uncomfortably, so that I could lean on the counter top.

There’s faux elegance, with your bill being presented handwritten on a business card, and the credit card slip returned in a pre-printed envelope. But a place trying so hard to be upscale ought to have a coat rack. There are hooks underneath the bar, which left my long winter coat dragging on the floor.

The cocktail list (photo here) is too short, with just six choices listed. This compares unfavorably to places like Please Don’t Tell, Death & Co., and Pegu Club, with lists that go on for multiple pages. I suppose they are encouraging you to go off-list, but the busy trainee bartenders did not inspire much faith.

I had the White Horse (Scotch Whisky, Ginger Syrup, Lemon, Orange Juice, and Bitters) and the Quaker (Rye Whisky, Cognac, Grenadine, Lemon Juice), both $14. I would have stayed for more if the bar seating weren’t so damned awkward.

There’s a $6,000 ice machine in the basement:

According to Mr. Boccato, it produces two 300-pound blocks of crystal clear ice every three to four days through a slow-freezing cycle. A pump mounted inside the machine’s cabinets circulates the water, thus preventing impurities from freezing into the block, and as well as the formation of troublesome oxygen bubbles and striations which make carving difficult.

“Essentially this ice freezes in the same fashion as natural ice freezes in a lake — from the bottom up,” Mr. Boccato said. “Once the cycle is finished, excess water and impurities are removed from the top of the block prior to harvesting by use of a common wet and dry vacuum. The blocks are then broken down to suit our needs.”

I asked about food, and was told the menu is limited to caviar and oysters—an awfully limited set of choices. The Times reported that french fries are served, but the “chef” told Eater.com that there are no fries, because the kitchen doesn’t have the equipment for making them.

The ice gimmick aside, Weather Up Tribeca is a disappointment.

Weather Up Tribeca (159 Duane St. between Hudson St. & West Broadway, Tribeca

Reader Comments (1)

The problem with the original Weather Up -- at least upon opening; I haven't frequented it -- was precisely that the trainee bartenders couldn't go outside the very limited cocktail list.

For a purported Serious Cocktail Bar, that's intolerable.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSneakeater

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