A Drink at Mari Vanna

We stopped in for a quick drink Friday night at the new Russian spot Mari Vanna. I had been pretty devastated when the Silver Swan closed down and this prime real estate across from Gramercy Tavern sat empty. Luckily they kept some of the charm of the Silver Swan but gave it quite the makeover.

The inside reminds me of going to visit an old and wealthy relative who has never changed the decor. From the garden out front to the white linen tablecloths and antique cutlery, I definitely did not feel like I was in New York City anymore.

Apparently you are supposed to be buzzed inside just like a residence as well. However the warm weather called for open doors, so we just breezed right in and took a seat at the bar.

I asked to see the drink list and I was struck by how many different kinds of beer they had listed. I’ve had all of the Baltica’s before (and loved them) but I had never had any of the Obolon’s.

However I was in a cocktail mood that night so instead I opted for the Mari Vanna Apricot Martini.

This is a blend of their house infused apricot vodka and lime juice. As you can see it came with a little piece of apricot on the bottom. It was a tad on the sweet side but the apricot vodka was smooth and refreshing. This was a very well made drink but for $15 shouldn’t the drink always be excellent? I think it was a tad too pricey, maybe $12 at the most I would say.

They had some cute bowls on the bar filled with various kinds of Russian candy that I usually pick up when I’m in Brighton Beach.

They also had a mason jar filled with what looked like round pretzels.

Behind the bar I noticed they had a ton more bottled beers. I’m not sure why they didn’t have these on the list as well. There were some really excellent and rare bottles to enjoy.

While we enjoyed our drink we saw them pouring their house made vodka out of the large terrines and into bottles. It seemes like there were many different varieties but again there was no list anywhere. If you’re going to specialize in vodka you should let people know what you have.

Overall I did enjoy Mari Vanna- the service was friendly and the vibe was very relaxed and enjoyable. Although my cocktail was a little pricey I would come back again to try out some of their Borscht and Blini’s. It’s just nice to have something in that space again as well.