NYC: Anyway Café – Russian Bar in East Village

Anyway Café, New York

Later that evening, after The Met, I met with my friend Ehsan. We started with a drink at The Cellar for nostalgic reasons. The Cellar used to be one of Ehsan’s favorite hangouts back in the days. When Ehsan refers to back in the days, he means the late 00’s.

He had just moved to New York, and he was touring all the hottest clubs and bars in Midtown and Meatpacking. These days, The Cellar has lost some of its mojo, and even though it’s still at stylish place, it appeared rather dead for a Friday night.

Ehsan and I have been friends ever since our university days in Sweden (please don’t ask me how many years that is). We used to drink 20 SEK Swedish Pripps Blå beer at the pubs on campus, wondering what we would be doing in 10 years, and where we would be doing it.

Now we’re sipping $20 cocktails around New York City. It feels surreal and very grown-up. Hanging out with Ehsan both makes me remember some of the happiest years in my life, but it also reminds me of the fact that I’m getting older, yikes!

After The Cellar, we met with one of Ehsan’s friends, a sweet girl from Russia, and proceeded to the Russian bar/restaurant Anyway Café in East Village. Because I had been out for many hours at that time, I think I could have done with a soda or a glass of water, but this isn’t how the Russians roll, so of course we ordered the vodka flight with 3 small carafes of infused vodka. We had beetroot, cucumber and raspberry and while it was very tasty, I couldn’t help thinking how much alcohol those 6-shots-per-head could possibly contain.

I’m not used to binge drinking anymore, and so much alcohol in one evening would typically mean Hangover From Hell the following day, but I woke up feeling great. “Nah!”, I thought, “I’m probably just still drunk.” But I kept feeling great. Maybe increased alcohol tolerance also comes with age?

It was my friend Ehsan, who  introduced me to Anyway Café on a Friday night, and I immediately liked this quirky Russian place. Anyway Café is tucked away down a rather quiet street, so it’s not a place you’ll stumble upon, if you don’t know that it’s there. The bar is tiny, but during summer, all doors are open, so it almost feels like you’re sitting outside.

There’s live music every night, but the main reason why I think you should go is the great selection of infused vodka. The one with raspberry is delicious, but watch out, as the raspberry flavor efficiently masks the taste of alcohol, so you easily end up drinking a lot more than you’ve planned.

Anyway Café also serves food and the menu is a mix of Russian and French classics. I’ve tried a selection of pâtés and the salmon tartar, which were both delicious together with the infused vodka.

• The 3 sample shots of infused vodka for $23 is a really good deal (the shots are big)

• There are also 2 branches of Anyway Café in Brooklyn

Anyway Café, 34 E 2nd St (corner of 2nd Ave), New York NY 10003, Tel: (212) 533-3412

> Visit Anyway Cafe’s website

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