BEST COCKTAILS - 2002
St. Paul Grill - CLOSED
Sad to say, far too many people these days confuse the profession of mixology with the profession of interior decoration. Interior decorators have their place, certainly, but that place is not behind a bar, creating color-coordinated, fruit-festooned concoctions. Call us old-fashioned (hah!) but we prefer to approach our martinis, gimlets, and manhattans on a more utilitarian basis. By our measure, the ideal drink is made with decent ingredients (all of which, we might add, should be transparent), generously poured, and served in a sturdy glass (preferably a clean one). That said, there's always room to indulge the aesthetic impulse. Which is what brings us to the intimate bar at the St. Paul Grill. With its dark-paneled walls and rump-comforting high chairs, the St. Paul offers the perfect touch of clubby sophistication to accompany a well-mixed drink. Bartenders here are solicitous but not cloyingly so, and if you've got a favorite top-shelf brand, it's almost certainly included in the vast selection. (The bar boasts 56 single-malt Scotches alone--though Heaven forfend you request that one get mixed into a cocktail.) Prices ain't cheap, but if you wanted a bargain you'd be at home with your Gilbey's gin and your generic olives.