Today: 23.06.2018
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22.06.2018

This crazy new ‘secret’ bar is inside an ice cream shop.

Take a closer look at the neon ice-cream cone lighting up a part of Second Avenue on the Upper East Side. It marks UES., a new scoop shop with a tiny, bubble-gum pink storefront near 88th Street. Staffers dish out flavors from banana brownie to espresso cookie, trucked in from artisanal SoCo Creamery in Great...
Time: 19:31     Date: 23.02.2018
US Living News: This crazy new ‘secret’ bar is inside an ice cream shop. NY Post 24 - US News

It marks UES., a new scoop shop with a tiny, bubble-gum pink storefront near 88th Street. Staffers dish out flavors from banana brownie to espresso cookie, trucked in from artisanal SoCo Creamery in Great Barrington, Mass. Many patrons devour their frozen desserts and walk out the door — but they’re missing out.

An employee is always stationed beside the counter. Sidle up and say, “I’d like to see the storage room, please.” Hand over your ID, and if you’re 21 or older, you’ll be shown a door lined with 180 empty ice cream cartons that swings open to reveal a neon “I scream, you scream” sign.

Bond shows the way through the disguised door.Erik Thomas

You’ve found it: the secret bar.

The brainchild of owner Cortney Bond, the spot is a delightful surprise. It’s a welcome addition — and an homage — to a neighborhood often defined by two unsavory extremes when it comes to after-work entertainment: nose-in-the-air restaurants or fratty dive bars.

Bond, a 32-year-old Las Vegas native, was inspired by the speakeasies of 1920s Prohibition, when alcohol had to be served behind a deceptive facade. After moving to the Upper East Side a decade ago, she was dismayed by the lack of cocktail joints with class, and ice-cream shops that weren’t chain stores.

“These concepts are not just reserved for downtown,” she says. “People always say there’s nothing to do up here, or that it’s too far. That’s not true!”

Armed with know-how from managing candycentric nightclub Sugar Factory and the VIP suites at Yankee Stadium, Bond wanted to strike out on her own.

She looked at more than 100 spaces on the Upper East Side over two-and-a-half years before finding 1,500 square feet — formerly two studio apartments and a threading salon — in November 2016. A yearlong renovation has yielded a decadent bar with a vintage vibe that serves some creative and unique drinks.

In the hidden back room, guests recline on tufted banquettes under exposed brick, chandeliers and gilded picture frames. The glowing bar, lined with stools upholstered in hot pink and studs, is stacked with exotic liqueurs and house-made syrups.

Most prominent is a painting of Notorious B.I.G. — the late rapper’s funeral was held a few blocks away at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on Madison Avenue — flanked by others with Upper East Side connections: oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, designer Vera Wang, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Martin Scorsese.

The Girls Gossip on the East cocktail features a flaming strip of corn husk.Tamara Beckwith

Bond also masterminded the drinks (about $15), named after area institutions, from Gracie Mansion to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Other popular cocktails include Girls Gossip on the East (rosé, tequila and prosecco, topped with melon balls and a strip of corn husk lit on fire) and Next Stop Hunter College (chocolate stout, cookie butter spread and chocolate ice cream), which each come in a cone-shaped glass. Another playful order, Tea at the Carlyle, comes in an antique cup with a lollipop and Pop Rocks on the side.

To keep things classy, Bond has instituted a strict dress code, banning athletic wear, hats and sneakers. And Yelp commenters have lambasted her for it.

“Honey, this is the Upper East Side,” Bond says. “We just want to keep [the] integrity and ambiance of the space.”

It doesn’t seem to deter a diverse crowd of early adopters. (Bond says Alec Baldwin walked in a few weeks ago.)

“I have the CEO of a hedge fund enjoying his bottle of wine with his black [American Express card], and then I have a young couple on a Tinder date sitting right next to him,” Bond says. “I’ve got an old record player with 45s, and then I’ve got a table covered with sprinkles that all the Instagrammers love. It shouldn’t just be one or the other.”

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