Organic Botanical Cocktails Take The Stage At NYC's First Farm-To-Bar Cafe

by Stephanie Maida · September 29, 2020

    While the past few months have undoubtedly been difficult for the cocktail connoisseurs among us, discerning drinkers finally have a reason to celebrate - we mean, it'd be hard not to at a place literally called Festivál.

    But, name aside, we're talking toasting to the most exciting new cocktail experience New York has seen this side of the pandemic.

    The new watering hole from the team behind the acclaimed annual Secret Summer festival dubs itself NYC's first "Farm-to-Bar" cafe, utilizing seasonal, sustainable, and locally-sourced ingredients to create a boozy tasting journey that could rival any chef's table in town. 

    "Farm-to-Bar is based on the same aesthetics of 'Farm-to-Table,'" says partner and GM, Tyler Hollinger. "All of our ingredients for the beverage program are locally sourced, organic, hyper-seasonal from local farms. Supporting local farms and serving what they are growing in season is tantamount to our business."

    With a rotating all-day menu that flows seamlessly from morning coffee and pastries to afternoon and evening sips and small plates, Festivál is already the perfect one-stop shop for everything from a fancy girls' lunch to date night. And depending how often you visit, you may never have the same experience twice.

    "Our menu (both food and beverage) changes every three months," Hollinger explains. As for its can't-miss fall offerings? "Autumn is a truly amazing time in NYC and the apple is quintessential to this. I love taking the train to Wicklow Orchard in the fall for a little apple picking and our NY Groove [cocktail] is all sourced within 50 miles of NYC. We literally juice an entire apple into the glass and then mix it with our own in house infused cinnamon spiked apple-brandy. It is the perfect cocktail for early fall even if you don't want to get on the Metro North."

    Making its debut amidst COVID regulations certainly posed its own set of challenges, but success has come with the approval of the Upper East Side locals. "The amount of love, support, and praise we have received from the neighborhood... I knew from the start winning the neighborhood would be our first priority," says Hollinger. "The neighborhood folk come up to us time and time again thanking us for opening in this area and at this time because they say there is literally nothing of substance for blocks. We love this neighborhood. We love our neighbors."

    Nevertheless, things are looking up for both Festivál and the hospitality scene in general. With indoor dining returning this week, the cafe will finally be welcoming intimate groups into its chic barroom, which boasts a white marble-topped bar and luxurious touches of gilded brass and blue velvet.

    And if you're craving a quality cocktail from the comfort of your home? They've got you covered with a recently-launched delivery service that brings their large-format, botanically-based creations straight to you. Cheers to that!

    Festivál, 1155 2nd Ave.

    [Photos courtesy Festivál]