Stroll through Manhattan’s Lower East Side any day of the week, and you’re bound to find lots of hidden gems — from beloved live music halls to trendy new restaurants teeming with artsy city-dwellers.
But while you’re there, you better not pass up the chance to turn onto Allen Street and check out Double Chicken Please, a new kind of cocktail bar that’s currently earning rave reviews throughout the country.
In fact, the LES spot was just awarded the Best Bar in North America by the 50 Best List, despite being a relative newcomer to the scene. That’s because the trendy bar isn’t your typical watering hole — it’s more like an experience.
According to its owners, GN Chan and Faye Chen, the concept for Double Chicken Please first took root in 2017 and was born out of a shared love of Taiwanese food and mixology. Initially, the duo planned to move from their native Taiwan to New York City in order to open a brick-and-mortar location; but after a lease fell through and plans were halted, they decided to come to the U.S. anyway and take their idea on the road.
For three years, the two owned and operated a mobile pop-up version of the cocktail bar and drove cross-country in a VW minibus while handing out their creations. Finally, in November 2020, they returned to their original dream — opening up a permanent location in one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods — and haven’t looked back since.
The bar’s unique name was actually inspired by Faye’s childhood nickname, which she describes as meaning something close to “chicken cutlet” in Mandarin.
If you step inside the dual-concept bar today, you’ll first encounter the dimly lit front room where you can order whimsical cocktails on tap like the No. 3, which features a blend of apple-flavored brandy, cranberry juice, spiced pear and ginger ale. You can also order up some yummy bites, like the “Hot Honey” chicken sandwich, which according to Faye, is an all-time best seller.
The back room was inspired by what’s known as “hacking design” — a concept based on destructing and rebuilding things. In this case, the subject is creative cocktails inspired by Japanese food.
“Making a great cocktail, it just takes a lot of dedication, a lot of time, a lot of focus,” Faye told In The Know by Yahoo. “Outside of what you can see behind the everyday is actually hours of prepping everyday stuff from scratch, every little ingredient.”
Among the many interesting drinks on the menu are “appetizers” like the New York Beet Salad, which the owners say is “refreshing, fruity, slightly savory, really easy to go down to start the night.”
There’s also the “Red Eye Gravy,” which the owners describe as the main entree — a thicker body drink that’s savory and good to sip on.
“So we have this drink paired with almost, like, dehydrated bacon chips on the top,” GN explained.
Another popular drink choice is the Butter Raisin Biscuit. This, said GN, was inspired by the Japanese dessert and is also paired with smoked bites for an interesting mix of flavors.
As for what they have planned next, both GN and Faye say that they want to keep innovating in whatever way possible — and a lot of that is already starting, thanks to the bar’s current renovation.
“I think for us, the future is very exciting because we, right this moment, what we offer at Double Chicken Please from people who know about our food and beverage,” said GN. “But that’s actually only probably half of the things we want to deliver … There’s more things coming up soon.”
According to Tako Chang, DCP’s brand development and PR manager, the “Front Room” will be renamed the “dcp Free Range” room, which is described as a “fast-paced soda shop.” The drinks are designed based on classic cocktails with a Double Chicken Please seasonal twist in which the tasting profiles are approachable and served through taps.
As for the “Back Room,” Chang told In the Know it will soon be referred to as “The Coop,” where customers can continue to order crafted cocktails but will find themselves surrounded by “cozy, woody, mid-century” design vibes.
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