lazy tiger, humble brag and stutter step cocktails at lazy tiger photos by carmen troesser

2020 Best New Restaurants // No. 7 Lazy Tiger

Lazy Tiger may be small in stature – the space seats just 22 while the food menu features about a dozen items – but everything about it, from decor to flavor, is styled for maximal effect. The bar’s interior feels like the inside of a jewel box: The walls are a dark, lush green; the seating is covered in black leather; dark red carpets drape the wood floors.

chicken pibil taquitos and grilled octopus toast // photo by carmen troesser

The bold visuals translate to the food and drink menus, which are similarly full of attention-grabbing ingredient blends and flavor combinations. The eponymous Lazy Tiger packs a serious punch; made with mezcal, honey, serrano pepper and Tajin, it’s sweet, sour, and spicy, all at once. Even poured from an I.V.-like sack into a glass at home and drunk on the couch, it still delivered the kind of genuinely special experience we expect from our best bars.

from left, bartender seth wahlman, bartender jack mcginn, co-owner and bartender tim wiggins, lead bartender david greteman // photo by carmen troesser

Lazy Tiger’s food and drink menus fit together like puzzle pieces; both feature aggressive flavors, so anything you order pairs fantastically. While a dish like the chicken pibil taquitos could easily have been a greasy bar food afterthought, instead their creamy, smoky flavor was a delight to consume on its own and was even better when chased with a sip of the sharp Street Legal martini. The grilled octopus toast is similarly well-designed: Served on grilled baguette slices with stewed eggplant and toasted pine nuts, the toothsome octopus balances well with the eggplant’s smoothness.

So many big gestures in such a tiny setting run the risk of drowning each other out. That the Lazy Tiger experience is so cohesive is a testament to an ownership with razor sharp vision and a staff skillful enough to wrangle these many strong pieces into a harmonious whole.