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Gold Star, White Star.

There are so many wonderfully cliche ways to express my love for White Star, Sasha Petraske’s ‘sipping spirits bar’ on the fringes of the Lower East Side: I’m wishing on a (White) Star, White Star deserves a gold star, White Star has real star power, White Star leaves me starry-eyed. You get the point.

The much smaller though still very cool sibling to Petraske’s Milk & Honey, White Star focuses on liquors, most specifically absinthe and amari. The lone bartender does serve up beer and wine, but the real power of this dark and slinky watering hole is the straight liquor, unfettered by sugary juices. The savant behind the bar magically procures the ideal spirit for you, whether its a sharp tangy absinthe or a smoky whiskey. Trust me, it is virtually impossible to leave disappointed.

A dark back room with few trills, simple leather boothes, and a sparse bar play on the ‘no frills’ approach to drinking. But don’t let the lack of luxe fool you – this place blends comfortable neighborhood joint with hot spot. Last time I was here? I saw quasi-hipter celeb Kirsten Dunst lurking in the corner with a couple pals. Petraske’s reputation for quality boozing brings the jetset (though noticeably toned down – no table service here!), while the off-LES location ensures that only the serious prevail in securing a seat.

Come here for a mellow night of absinthe-fueled conversation and thought – don’t be shy and don’t come expecting fruity concoctions just begging for little umbrellas.

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