Bistro Cassis New York

Image by Geoffrey Dunbar

Bistro Cassis – French bistro, UWS

Entertaining at home might be desirable, but maybe uncomfortable for a New York citizen living in a small apartment. There’s something a little squirmy about offering a glass of wine to a friend who has to sit on your bed, or lean against the bathtub in your kitchen.

Neighbourhood restaurants and bars try to cover this typical shortfall by perpetrating living room-like intimacy through manner, décor and authenticity, thus luring neighbours into repeat business. I particularly like the ‘authenticity’ angle.

I strike often at the hook set by Cassis, a French bistro with dark wood floors, red checked tablecloths, a pressed tin ceiling and a small L shaped zinc bar. Susan and I prefer to sit at the bar, on the short arm of the L with our backs to the sidewalk, looking inward at the coziness of the restaurant. A visit might last an hour and a half, maybe two hours. We drink brandy and soda, Lillet, Pastis, a self-invented drink mixed with Aperol, Campari, tonic and grapefruit, and talk about ourselves, friends, politicians, theaters, writers and what is to become of us. Perching at the bar permits a sense of both belonging to and contributing to the scene, while facilitating a hasty departure when enough becomes enough.

Occasionally, a manager will send complimentary drinks our way, acknowledging the neighbourhood bonhomie, and we stay, thankful, grateful and a bit more tipsy. Thank goodness for Lyft and Juno (and Uber, I guess).

On Columbus, between 70th/71st, east side.

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Details about this spot



Columbus Avenue 225, New York

Telephone number


Opening Times

Mon - Thu 12:00 - 22:00, Fri - Sat 12:00 - 23:00, Sun 11:00 - 21:00


Onion soup: US$ 13

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)