Bar Review: Porchlight (New York City)

It time for our next New York City bar review! Over to West Chelsea this time for Porchlight… Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), first stand-alone cocktail bar!

Porchlight is a New York bar with a Southern accent (we know that because it says so right on the website), which presents contemporary interpretations of the region’s rich drinks and food heritage. Porchlight is on the vanguard of West Chelsea’s development as a vibrant neighbourhood located at 271 Eleventh Ave. (corner of 28 St.) in the Waterfront New York Building, which has more than 120 years of history.


New York, much like London, is once again awash with quality cocktail bars and having spent time speaking with many of the mangers over that last couple of weeks its clear they are all in it together, recognising that if their industry is doing well they will flourish. With no two bars the same each of our visits garnered 3,4 even 5 recommendations and catching up Porchlight Head Bartender, Nicholas Bennett was no exception. We really love to togetherness shown.

“The cocktail renaissance is in full swing and we feel that we have something unique to contribute to the conversation, given our approach to hospitality and our culinary DNA,” says Maynard-Parisi.

Maynard-Parisi is leading the project, a 22-year veteran of USHG, having started at Union Square Cafe, where he was personally trained as a maître d’ by Meyer and eventually became General Manager. He later co-founded Blue Smoke in the Flatiron District with Meyer, which now has two Manhattan locations.


The drinks menu salutes the South’s drinking traditions and reinterprets them through a New York sensibility with house-made fruit syrups, purées and infusions. There are takes on classic Southern cocktails and a collection of what they hope to be new classics based on the spirits and taste profiles found in the region. Also spotted and pleasing to see was a well-curated selection of American whiskey, regional craft beer and American wine.

Here’s the a preview into what we sampled:

The LOOK and FEEL:

Porchlight, designed by Parts and Labor Design, exudes a mid-century industrial rustic feel of comfort and a bit of irreverence. It retains much of the space’s original exposed brick and monumental columns to celebrate the iconic structure. The main bar is made entirely of wood that was salvaged from the building itself. Accommodating 200 guests overall, it offers a range of experiences in a lounge area, booths, banquettes, a communal table and even a game room in its nearly 4,000 square feet of space. It also has its own indoor “porch,” which functions as a stage for intimate musical and spoken word performances – nice touch! 


Porchlight is located on the ground floor of the Waterfront New York Building. Built in 1891 to access the nearby rail lines and ferries, the iconic structure was purchased in 1983 by Coleman Burke, Managing Partner, Waterfront NY.
The building already is the home for Union Square Events, the catering and events branch of USHG, and a high profile space was newly available and well suited for the Porchlight project.

WE had a great time a Porchlight, enjoying the drinks, atmosphere and people – well worth a look if you’re in town…