It pains me to write this, as every now and then I find a place that is so special, I want to keep it a secret. I guess when a place describes itself as a speakeasy, keeping it on the down-low is a must, and this place has earned that right.
As I’ve heard nothing but good things about you, my gentle readers of this fine BoozeBlog, I feel like I can finally share my number one, hidden-gem cocktail bar in the county: YNK. Why? Because You Never Know.
There aren’t too many bars that feel intimate these days, and YNK can sometimes feel a little too intimate. Don’t go expecting to have a private conversation. Expect to be pulled into neighbors chatter, which usually starts off with “which cocktail did you get?” followed by hours of making new friends.
The lounge, as it were, feels like you were invited to a hotel-room party in another country. Every few months, the cocktail journey changes locale…previous inspirations included Spain, Italy, New Orleans, and Asia.
A bar is nothing without a talented bartender, and Ravin, the man behind the stick, works whimsically from a bar cart, not only swizzling your drinks, but he has also meticulously hand-drawn each leather-bound menu with pen and ink. Each page reminds me of my college notes, where doodles and fancy lettering would sometimes intertwine actual knowledge.
On Friday, Sept. 15, YNK celebrates its one-year anniversary, complete with a greatest-hits cocktail menu and super-tasty hors d’oeuvres. The Irvine Marriott is offering a package deal that includes a one-night stay in a penthouse suite, access to the event, and a continental breakfast the morning after. Be sure to check availablility.
RSVP to YNK’s anniversary party here, and be sure to check back when the new menu theme is announced!
YNK is located inside the Irvine Marriott at 18000 Von Karman Ave, Irvine. marriott.com