New York: The Bailey
The Bailey Pub and Brasserie off New York’s Wall Street
When we opened the door of The Bailey, a newish pub and brasserie just off Wall Street in New York’s Financial District, we almost turned round and walked out again. The noise was deafening. It was like being in the front row of a Rolling Stones concert with a jet engine roaring behind you. Well, it was Happy Hour, it was Friday, and if the financial markets were depressed, you wouldn’t know it here. The Bailey wasn’t just buzzing, it was booming, roaring, partying.
However, if we had turned round and walked out we’d have missed a great meal at an affordable price, not something that’s easy to find in and around Wall Street. I yelled into the ear of the receptionist that we’d booked a table for 8pm, but we were really early and could they fit us in? No problem, she yelled back, and led us away from the partying bar to the slightly quieter dining area, apologising for the noise. It was just one of those Friday nights when half of Wall Street seemed to have decided that the Bailey was the place to be.
The bar did get quieter as people started to head for home, and we must have hit it at peak decibel level. It still left The Bailey enjoyably busy, as the evening diners started to replace the happy hour drinkers. The eating areas have bright red leather banquettes, giving it the French brasserie feel, though it is in fact Irish-owned. It’s a typical New York mix, and it works. Light floods through the picture windows by day, and at night the low lighting and colorful modern art works give it a more intimate feel.
The Bailey is open every day, serving breakfast to locals and workers from 7am, from a menu including Bailey Benedict, Buttermilk Pancakes, Brioche French Toast with Grand Marnier Butter, or even the Full Irish Breakfast. It stops serving at midnight, and closes the doors at 1am, with separate Lunch, Dinner and Bar menus, and another menu for their busy Saturday and Sunday Brunches.
Plats du Jour
The Lunch and Dinner menus both feature the Plat du Jour, which show the international range of dishes on offer, from Spaghetti Bolognese on Mondays, through Wednesday’s Beef Bourguignon to Saturday’s Cassoulet and Sunday’s Traditional Roast Beef with all the trimmings.
Dinner at The Bailey
You can be as flexible as you like when dining at The Bailey, from a simple snack to a full 3-course meal. Starters include soups and sandwiches, and there’s a Raw Bar too with Oysters (right) and Ahi Tuna Tartare. Entrées definitely focus on comfort food – burgers, Coq au Vin, Mac and Cheese, Fish and Chips. But if my Steak Frites was anything to go by, it’s top-quality comfort food. The steak was huge and succulent, and The Bailey definitely passed that all-important test – great fries!
It’s always a good test of a kitchen to see if they get the simple things right, like cooking a steak or making good French fries. The Dessert menu showed that the Bailey passes with flying colors – a perfect, moist, and zingily-flavored Tiramisu, and, in my case, a Brioche Bread Pudding with a Myers Rum Sauce and Caramel Ice Cream. I’ve eaten enough Bread Puddings over the years to fill a medium-sized bakery, and The Bailey’s was definitely up there in the Top Ten.
Drinks at the Bailey
The Bailey passed yet another important test with its Drinks menu – a good range of wines available by the glass, from affordable Italians to classier wines from Austria, New Zealand, Australia, and California’s Russian River Valley. There’s an impressive collection of ales too, both on draft and by the bottle, with a really good selection of Belgian brews. There are signature cocktails as well, a lengthy collection of tequilas, and a wide after-dinner drinks menu. We topped off our meal with the inevitable – an Irish coffee. It was the final test – another success. The perfect Irish coffee. We headed out past the still busy bar into the New York night and the nearby Wall Street subway stop, so glad we’d walked on in rather than walked on by.
52 William Street, New York, NY 10005
The Bailey Pub and Brasserie website