Koi Bā is a (slightly) secretive speakeasy on the second floor of Nem’s Japandi Bistro (80 North 6th St.). Owner Supranee Phramdang, known as Nem, has recently unveiled the intimate cocktail bar with craft cocktails and Japanese-inspired fare above her restaurant. 

Koi Bā’s head mixologist Ricky Dolinsky crafting his Koji Yakusho cocktail . Photo: Koi Bā

At Koi Bā, the cocktail menu was curated to highlight Japanese flavors and seasonal ingredients, showcasing twelve diverse and flavorful libations. Koi Bā’s head mixologist, Ricky Dolinsky, uses locally-sourced ingredients to create a distinctive ‘New York meets Japan’ experience with each drink.

“The specialty cocktails featured at Koi Bā are very important because as a mixologist, our ingredients are the vessel for executing an experience for our guests,” Dolinsky told Greenpointers

“Choosing the ingredients – their origins, quality, seasonality – and how they respond to each other is what makes mixologists as special as they are. The techniques we deploy to harvest these flavors are tied into our own experiences and help make our own identity. My identity as a mixologist is using my chef background to extract the pure essence of certain flavors and converging them in unusual and fun ways. Emphasizing a multi-sensory experience, some of my cocktails may transport you to Kyoto, or maybe take you somewhere you never knew existed,” Dolinsky said.

The Paper Crane is a delightful example of one of Dolinsky’s featured cocktails. It uses Japanese aged rum, Interboro amaro, yellow chartreuse, lime, and a paper crane garnish. It’s of course a play on the Paper Plane, if the cocktail took a trip to Japan. The rum reacts interestingly with the chartreuse in a way that brings out the sweet funk of the rum with the herbal notes of the chartreuse. 

Koi Bā’s Paper Crane cocktail. Photo: Koi Bā

Another example is the Blue Forest with coconut infused whiskey, pineapple, Kare spice, amontillado sherry, sesame orgeat, and egg white. This drink is a Japanese-inspired tiki style cocktail with an egg white. The curry syrup is a nod to the Aomori prefecture of Japan, where curry is a culinary staple, and balances out the tropical notes of the drink. The coconut-infused whiskey adds tropical notes but also brings out the spice notes in it, which plays great with the curry. The sesame orgeat rounds the drink out with delicate nuttiness.

The Sazerac-inspired Smokey Toki is another cocktail speciality at Koi Bā. The cocktail features a duck fat washed whiskey and the Chinese five spice combination of cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds and cloves. Dolinsky uses a mix of wood chips and matcha to smoke the drink, creating rich and sophisticated toasted notes that are not overly savory.

Dolinsky adding the smoke to Koi Bā’s Smokey Toki cocktail. Photo: Koi Bā

In addition to the curated seasonal selection of cocktails, ten additional classic cocktails are featured on the menu. Koi Bā also serves Japanese craft beers, a thoughtfully-curated sake repertoire, a wine list and tasting flights of house whiskeys.

Chicken karaage at Koi Bā. Photo: Koi Bā

Koi Bā also offers a menu of small snacks that includes fried chicken karaage with sancho pepper honey, house hot sauce, and a Szechuan peppercorn and sesame seed blend.

There’s also hamachi crudo dressed in a bright ponzu and a mango and passion fruit vinaigrette, plus tuna tartare with charred negi, cured egg, yuzu kosho, and nori, and mini donburi bowls from Chef Koichi Takayama.

Guests enjoying the experience at Koi Bā. Photo: Koi Bā

The experience at Koi Bā offers unparalleled service and captivating décor, inviting patrons to immerse themselves in an authentic Japanese cocktail bar ambiance. Every detail has been meticulously crafted to transport guests to the heart of Japan. 

The cocktail bar is anchored by a grand oversized Koi fish above the bar. The speakeasy atmosphere offers dimly lit surroundings accentuated by prominent red lighting. Each element of the décor harmonizes to create an atmosphere that is both elegant and alluring.

Koi Bā offers a happy hour that includes $10 highballs from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The bar is open Tuesday through Saturday 6 p.m. – midnight, and Sunday and Monday 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Sponsored by Koi Bā

Elevated Japanese-inspired specialty cocktails and food, located above Nem’s Japandi Bistro at 80 North 6th Street

Open Tuesday to Saturday (6pm-12am), Sunday to Monday (6pm-11pm)

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