One of the city’s longtime hidden gems for craft cocktails and unparalleled ambiance has found a new, if temporary, hiding spot.
Angel’s Share – the East Village speakeasy that had plied in-the-know New Yorkers with its intoxicating menu of precision-made libations for three decades – resurfaced Wednesday behind another nondescript portal near Madison Square Garden.
The iconic bar first opened in 1993 as the brainchild of restaurateur Tadao “Tony” Yoshida above his popular noodle shop, Village Yokocho, on East Eighth Street – long before the speakeasy concept swept through the East Village.
Those who stumbled through its unmarked wooden door were transported to a Japanese-inspired fairyland where soft jazz and hard liquor flowed in equal measures. The romantic setting featured large windows overlooking Stuyvesant Triangle and a hand-painted Italian renaissance style mural of cherubs above the 12-seat bar.
Elevating cocktails also came with house rules — like no standing and no parties of more than four people at the 60-seat hot spot. Long lines would soon tip off newcomers to Angel’s Share – a reference to the alcohol that evaporates when aged in casks.
However, the tucked-away paradise was shuttered in March after its 30-year lease ran out. Now, Yoshida’s daughter, Erina, will try to recapture the magic at the Hotel Eventi, by Penn station at 851 Avenue of the Americas at 30th St, as Angel’s Share reopens as a summer pop up.
“My father’s main goal was to spread the craft of cocktails through Japanese techniques and skills,” said Erina Yoshida, who continues to hunt for a new space downtown.
“It has to feel like home when I step in, and customers will feel the same way,” she said of finding a permanent home. “I’m looking for a classic, New York feeling. A place that is quaint, not rowdy. And it will also have to have that discreet feeling that Angel’s Share had — as well as the hospitality aspect, the style of service, the regulations we had, so that people can really enjoy their time and converse with the people they came with.”
Coming to Yoshida’s immediate rescue is Chris Lauber, senior director of operations for LTH — from top chef Laurent Tourondel — who heard through friends that Angel’s Share was looking for a temporary home.
LTH had just carved out its own speakeasy space, hidden behind an unmarked door at the Vine at Hotel Eventi. The pop up has 30 elevated lounge seats with a view of the bar.
“If you are going to enjoy a delicious and expensive cocktail, you don’t necessarily want to be in a large, noisy bar,” Lauber said. “Less seats allows the bartenders to focus on the finesse and detail of the cocktail in a smaller space.”
After the Angel’s Share lease expired, Erina Yoshida said “the most important thing was to keep the momentum and integrity of the place alive and to have a temporary home for the staff — this was crucial to me during the transition. The timing was great, and we are thrilled to partner and collaborate with Hotel Eventi.”
The strict house rules will continue to be enforced, she said, adding that the unique “techniques and skills” that Angel’s Share was known for will also continue — from making their own ice to using a soft three-piece shaker, instead of a noisier Boston shaker — along with creating their own fresh juices, syrups and infusions from scratch.
“Now it’s becoming a norm to highlight fresh ingredients — it was very different in 1993,” she said.
Even a version of the famed mural will greet patrons and harken back to Angel’s Share’s glory days. It has been photographed and split into framed sections for the pop up.
The Vine, which plans to open its own speakeasy in the space in the fall, will also offer a limited menu at Angel’s Share’s pop up.
At Hotel Eventi, LTH also operates Skirt Steak – the popular one-course menu of steak with field greens and unlimited fries that launched during the pandemic — and L’Amico, an Italian-inspired American restaurant.
Lauber said it is hard to explain the influence Angel’s Share had on the city’s craft cocktail movement.
“They’ve really been a talking point in New York City for decades,” he said. “What happened with their previous location was unfortunate and speaks to the greater narrative, that all great things come to an end.”