Everything about this place—fittingly located on West 51st Street in Hell's Kitchen—guarantees kitschy, fabulous, fun times. With over twenty different in-house infused vodkas, New York's only 30-foot ice bar, tasty get-the-job-done food offerings and a list of always-entertaining, oftentimes-weird events that'll make your head spin as fast as the bartenders' tailor-made martinis, it is a must-see for New Yorkers looking for a decidedly different bar experience.
The lounge is the five-year-old lovechild of Russian-born nightlife empressario Vlada Von Shats. According to manager (and self-titled “Generally Awesome Person”) Billy Hannon, Shats is a “fabulous, fur-wearing, vodka-wielding, celebrity-hosting, whirlwind of a person” who “ wanted an upscale, hip, and unpretentious place for her frends to mingle, play, and have fun.” The decor is as unique as Shats herself: the downstairs is reminiscent of a train car, replete with curved, wood paneling on the walls and a bar made of vintage luggage trunks.
How do they make their vodkas, you might ask? “It's a KGB secret. If we told you, we'd have to get you drunk. Then kill you,” says Billy, so we'll leave it at that. Whatever it is that they do, they do it well. Classic flavors include pomegranate, spicy pepper, ginger and cucumber. “I also get unnaturally excited about the seasonal flavors,” he croons, like their limited batches of pumpkin, fig and apple cinnamon vodkas available only during the fall and winter months.
Billy goes on: “There’s a reason that this place is constantly getting written about, voted for, and frequented by the most savvy New Yorkers and travelers. In addition to being one of the least pretentious establishments with the most fun loving bartenders you’ll ever meet, it has the capacity to constantly surprise and delight.” So be sure to drop in and experience the enigma that is Vlada for an unforgettably good time.