First Look: The Spaniard, a Hot New Whiskey Gastropub in the West Village

The hip spot is an ode to old-school New York
March 31, 2017
by Margaret Sutherlin

The gist: The team behind nightlife neighborhood standbys (The Bonnie, Sweet Afton in Astoria) and (Bua, The Wren, The PenroseWilfie & Nell in Manhattan), are ready to unveil their newest gastropub, The Spaniard, in the West Village on April 3. Mark Gibson, Mikey McFerran and PJ Calapa pay homage to old-school New York nightlife – think Keens Steakhouse, P.J. Clarke’s and Old Town Bar – from decor to drinks and menu. 

The food: PJ Calapa (previously Ai Fiori, Nobu 57) helms the kitchen and extends the New York love to the menu of elevated steakhouse comfort classics. “I want it to be your favorite neighborhood steak,” said the chef. And boy does Calapa pay big respect to the standards. Beef tartare comes cut and ground to order accompanied with housemade brown bread crackers inspired by Keens’ famed brown bread. 

Steak tartare & brown bread crackers. Photo by Michael Di Tota

The “Smash burger” features two Pat LaFrieda patties with American cheese on the top and bottom, plus the signature Spaniard sauce (pickles, hot sauce and mayo). Even onion rings get a special nod, fried in an airy tempura style batter and are served with a house aioli made with mayo, ketchup Dijon mustard and smoked paprika. ​

Onion rings & housemade sauce. Photo by Nick Brown

There’s also oysters Rockefeller with spinach, bacon and Parmesan, and a ribeye steak with béarnaise and fries. 

Oysters Rockefeller. Photo by Michael Di Tota

The drinks: Behind the bar McFerran’s Scottish heritage is on full display with over 100 whiskeys, half of which are scotch. "When I first got to the U.S., all anyone ordered was Macallan, Glenlivet or Glenfiddich. Those were the go-to Scotches, and they’re good Scotches, don’t get me wrong, but people weren’t aware of how big an array of Scotches there is,” said McFerran. 

The Gibbo. Photo by Brittany Ambridge

The scotches are divided up by region to help drinkers find new labels in the same vein as their favorites. There also a wide selection of bourbons, ryes and a few Japanese whiskey options. 

There are a number of cocktails to try too. The Gibbo is a house signature variation on the Gibson, using a pickled onion brine developed by Calapa over the last 10 years. The playful Rye Tai adds in rye to the tiki-inspired drink, mixed with lemon and pineapple, plus housemade orgeat poured over crushed ice.

The Santiago is a modern take on the rapscallion, made with sherry, tequila, orange bitters and a touch of mezcal. 

Photo by Brittany Ambridge

The space: The new hangout probably looks familiar for neighbors: it’s the former Oliver’s City Tavern on the corner of West 4th Street and Barrow Street. With 16-foot vaulted ceilings, vintage exposed bricks and rustic beams in the ceiling, The Spaniard had plenty of history to tap in the interior design. Home Studios led the charge adding an oak bar back with old-school brass fixtures. Velvet stools along the bar come in blush pinks and teals to add some color. Expect cozy banquettes, moody lighting and walls sized art inspired by French realist painter, Gustave Courbet.  

Photo by Brittany Ambridge 

The details: 190 W. 4th St; 212-918-1986; Monday-Friday 3 PM – 4 AM; Weekends 12 PM – 4 AM; The Spaniard opens April 3 and brunch/lunch are in the works. 

west village
whiskey bars