Getting There by Train:
About The Violet Hour:
The Violet Hour's name comes from a quote in a book about the cultural significance of the cocktail written by Bernard DeVoto (by way of T.S. Eliot) -- "This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn..." -- the "hour," referring to the cocktail hour. This is the first hint that this place takes its booze seriously. The 8 kinds of twice-filtered ice and housemade syrups and bitters -- many precisely dispensed via eye droppers -- are further clues that you're about as far away from a "beer and a shot" joint as you can get.
The cocktail is the star here, with classics like the Tom Collins and Manhattan as well as originals like the Iron Cross (their take on the pisco sour) all prepared with the same care and expertise that a 4-star chef gives his food. And as they say, all good things take time -- the drinks can take over five minutes to prepare, so be aware that the round for your table is going to take a while. Fortunately they also have delicious food to nibble on to keep you occupied -- I really liked the Crispy Fried Housemade Bread & Butter Pickles with Chili Aioli, as well as the Fried Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon Sandwich on Brioche with Wildflower Honey.
The outside of The Violet Hour strives for a speakeasy feel -- there is no exterior sign, just a single yellow light above a door that is camouflaged with a plethora of paper flyers. Just look for the building that has no exterior windows, seems abandoned, yet inexplicably has a small crowd outside and you'll find it. The rough exterior betrays the inside, however, which is stunning. Three rooms are draped in fabric and painted in soothing hues, and have leather high-backed chairs surrounding small pedestal tables, with the main light source being candlelight. And you actually get to enjoy the decor, too, because The Violet Hour only lets in as many people as they have seats. That's right, no shoulder-to-shoulder cramming of people goes on in here. The downside to this arrangement, however, is that there is often a wait to get in, especially on weekends. The doorman takes your cellphone number and will call when a table is available.
If you're looking for a quiet venue to relax with friends or on a romantic date and appreciate a perfectly executed cocktail, a trip to The Violet Hour should definitely be on your list.