I really wanted to like this place. And at 6pm on a Monday, I thought we'd be safe. Safe from the crowds, yes. Safe from the showboating-to-neglect bartenders, no.
The space is lovely, the cocktails superb. But I only managed to enjoy one drink in the hour and a half I graced Pegu's presence. The Jamaican firefly, a gingery, dark rum riff on a dark and stormy, held me nicely for a spell. I thought I might like to try something made with applejack next. James wanted to order coconut shrimp even though we had 8pm reservations at Public. I wasn't opposed to sampling some haute bar snacks. But it was not to be since we couldn't get the attention of either bartender the rest of the evening (it makes one wonder if they'd be noticed if they chose to drink and dash). While sitting at the bar initially seemed optimal, perhaps the cozier tables with waitress service would've worked out better.
I understand this isn't a margarita machine, slap dash operation, they're crafting thought out cocktails with flourish and show. That's appreciated. But I took issue with the attention lavished on particular patrons, namely the couple seated next to us who perpetually engaged the one-step-up from Royal Oak, Williamsburger mixologist with their thrilling tale of a documentary in progress about new-school bartenders. Fine, impress friends, filmmakers, out-do each other with obscure liqueur awareness (peons like myself know what creme d'yvette is, too) but spread the wealth (of knowledge). Despite the club in Pegu's name, I thought this was a public space and not a private venue. I would like to return and likely will at some point, though I'm the type who has a hard time forgiving tainted first impressions.
Pegu Club * 77 W. Houston St., New York, NY