Some craft cocktail pioneers re-create much more than drinks. "There are places in New York that do it really well with the arm garters and vests and big mustaches, and they pull it off," says Eric Farrell, who co-owns the Bar at 327 Braun Court. At Manhattan's PDT, a "secret" panel in a hot dog shop's vintage phone booth opens into a living re-creation of a speakeasy, complete with the historic drinks, rules of decorum, and costumes.
Though the modern cocktail movement has been closely associated with these play-acting bars, examples of which can be found as close by as Detroit's Sugar House and Ferndale's the Oakland, Farrell explains that local bars are foregoing most of the period embellishments to focus on the drinks themselves.
"I don't care what [other people] are doing," Farrell says. "They can wear funny hats and clown shoes, but if you're bringing people good drinks, that's awesome."