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Attaboy’s new Spritz Bar, Good Guy’s, opens in New York

A spread from Good Guy’s, opening this week.
Photo: Moe Aljaff

In the bar world, the address 134 Eldridge Street has long been somewhat of a legend. A quarter of a century ago, it was the original location for Sasha Petraske’s Milk & Honey, the neo-speakeasy that launched a million hidden bars. For the past twelve years it has been Attaboy, run by Petraske’s friends and former employees Michael McIlroy and Sam Ross. The dark, narrow room can still hold a three-hour wait for newcomers, and between its two iterations the space has now been around long enough for patrons to bring in children born after Milk & Honey opened. One of those regulars is a man named Guy – Guy Finkman – whose twenty years of loyalty at the bar (he has his own key) is more or less unparalleled: “He’s bringing his daughters now,” says McIlroy. “They both had their first drink at Attaboy. I think that’s fucking amazing.”

Finkman is also one of two eponymous Guys — the other is Ross’s godson, who lives in Mexico City — at Attaboy’s new sister company, which is even closer than right next door. Good guy, as it’s called, opened last week in the same building and makes its official debut tonight, June 5. So far they have mainly told friends. Haley Traub, who is also the GM at Attaboy, will emcee the show. “She’s essentially the mayor of the 134 Eldridge Street complex,” Ross says.

It’s the next installment in Ross and McIlroy’s ever-expanding empire, which includes Temple Bar and a trio of spots in Nashville. They hadn’t necessarily been looking for another space, although they had discussed what they would do if they did did become available. When it happened, the duo knew what they didn’t want: to expand Attaboy. “It’s so special in that room, and doing something bigger and grander,” says Ross, “could have really changed the mood and atmosphere.”

Instead, they went in the opposite direction and opened a space that they say was inspired by the tapas bars of Barcelona and the wine bars of Paris. It’s practically glowing, with a honey-onyx bar sticking out at the end for standing customers, and there are a few tables in the back. There is a large bay window at the front and a painting by Matthew Maddy’s mother, who worked on the project with designer Melissa Brasier. “Got to Give It Up” and “Strawberry Letter 23” play (from vinyl!) from crisp OMA speakers that, Ross says, embody the ethos of their design: “piling things” they love, like an espresso machine that in the technical competence of the sound system. “We’re not just trying to open bars for the sake of it,” McIlroy said. “This is what we wanted to do: things that a lot of people don’t know or care about, but we do.”

The drinks menu leans heavily on wine and spritz, such as a Como Spritz made with Cynar, passion fruit, lemon and prosecco. The Wimbledon is prepared with homemade Pimm’s, based on a recipe from Milk & Honey, and a few drinks are made with Lambrusco. The sleeper of the menu is the Picon Bière, a kind of French shandy made by mixing beer (in this case Threes Brewing’s pilsner) with the bitter orange aperitif Amer Picon. (The product is not available in the US, so they make their own.) “Every time we went to Paris, we drank a lot of Picon Bière, and all these old French men said, ‘Why? are you drinking this?’” says McIlroy. “’Because it’s damn good.’”

To go with those drinks, they have a tight menu of snacks – mainly dips and toasts and tinned fish. (It’s all prepped and assembled during the day in an extraordinarily small kitchen at the far end of the bar.) As at Temple Bar, the food is provided by their consulting chef, Jesse Parnell, who has worked at both Russ & Daughters and Russ & Daughters worked. Russ & Daughters Café. There’s smoked trout and labneh; pan con tomato; and boquerones with dill pesto.

It’s probably inevitable that Good Guy’s will become partly a waiting room for people wanting to try a penicillin at Attaboy, but that’s not the goal. “We wanted to play some records and make it a place where people could come in and have a glass of wine,” McIlroy says. “Before Attaboy, or after, or simply as an alternative.”

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