Ports in a Storm

Ports in a Storm

When it rains, it needn’t pour. Light rain all day is just as effective.

On days like that—like the past two—I thirst for a bar with intimate scale, low amber light and its own pours and drizzles.

So I set a course for Ordinary, for the first time in a while. The Port of Call ($12), which I’m told may only be available for the next two or three weeks, felt both appropriate (thematically) and risky (gustatorily), but somehow neither the banana liqueur nor the lavender-infused rum overpowered the flavor. Prominent at the start were slightly bitter notes of vermouth and a tart current of lime juice, though the banana drifted forward as I swam deeper into the drink.

Ordinary’s atmosphere didn’t disappoint either. Candle-lit lanterns dotted a rich, dark bar top with an elegant loping rail. Wagon-wheel chandeliers, tight wainscoting, carved motifs, Gothic arches and an embossed ceiling that must be sculpted, not stamped, elevated both the eye and the experience.

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The bar at Anchor Spa, not half a block away, had harder seats and a stone-solid marble top, but the ironically crimson-colored Yale Beets Harvard ($15), featuring two kinds of rum including an overproof, was boozy enough to soften them. The earthy beet came through (like Yale, apparently), grounding what was, overall, a sweetly round impression with a hint of angularity—in another ironic turn, kind of banana-ish. All in all it was a fairly fascinating drink, something worth trying at least once.

Also worth trying was the Chickpea Curry over Coconut Rice ($18), delicious and comforting with silky potatoes and melt-in-your-mouth chickpeas and carrots. The rice could have been fluffier, but the flavors were balanced and beautiful, the curry pulsing with a vein of heat and the occasional beat of fresh, crunchy scallion.

It was just what I needed on a dreary, drizzly day.

Written by Dan Mims. Image 1, of Ordinary, photographed by @ordinarynewhaven. Image 2, of the Yale Beets Harvard, photographed by Dan Mims.

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