128 W Houston St at Sullivan St, Greenwich Village
The Place: A 1920s-style Japanese cocktail bar whose name means “modern girl” and is female-run, so like why wouldn’t I go here.
The Time: Sunday October 8, 5:30pm. I saw a matinee of a play nearby and decided to stop in to Bar Moga, which has been on my list since a friend texted me “OMG YOU HAVE TO GO TO BAR MOGA YOU WILL LOVE IT.” I can’t turn down that kind of peer pressure.
The Vibe: Quiet, lovely, aesthetically pleasing. I read on their website that it’s modeled after a Taisho era jazz bar in Japan, so naturally they’re playing jazz. There are a lot of different textures in here: wood, brick, stone, velvet. Really pretty bulbous lamps. There’s a back room with a fireplace that’s probably not real but sure looks cozy. There’s one couple at a table and I’m the only person at the bar. I sit down and discover they have swivel stools! Swivel stools! So fun. My friend told me that it gets kinda crazy sometimes, but right now, it is so goddamn peaceful, it’s almost eerie. Could’ve used a few more people just to comfort the extrovert in me.
The Bartender: A really lovely woman named Amanda and I spend almost all my time talking to her.
The Drank: All of the cocktails look yum but I settle on their signature one, The Moga: Suntory Whisky, rum, aged plum liqueur and bitters. It’s great, boozy but super drinkable. Plus a portion of the sales are donated to breast cancer research so I can feel a glimmer of hope in this hellish world. If you don’t want a cocktail, there are many, many Japanese whiskies to choose from. I also get the veggie ramen, which is so insanely delicious, I eat it all before I remember to take a picture of it. #foodporn #blessed
Was I Hit On? No. I only talk to Amanda. Unless she’s hitting on me? We spend a lot of time talking about our pets. I learn all about her cat’s UTI and in turn, I tell her all about the vet recently informing me that my dog is “a little padded” and needs to lose 3 pounds. I don’t know about you, but this is not typically how I flirt with someone so I think Amanda and I are just friends.
Should You Drink Here Alone? Totally. Bar Moga is a charming retreat from bustling Manhattan. But I believe my friend when she says it can get wild - it’s a bar on Houston Street, after all. So go early and the zen of this place can be all yours.