Everything about Vlada Bar—fittingly located on West 51st Street in Hell's Kitchen—guarantees kitschy, fabulous, fun times. With over twenty different in-house infused vodkas, New York's only 30-foot ice bar, tasty get-the-job-done food offerings and a list of always entertaining, oftentimes weird events that'll make your head spin as fast as the bartenders' tailor-made martinis, Vlada is a must-see for New Yorkers looking for a decidedly different bar experience.
Vlada Bar is the five-year-old lovechild of Russian-born nightlife empressario Vlada Von Shats. According to manager (and self-titled “Generally Awesome Person”) Billy Hannon, Shats is a “fabulous, fur-wearing, vodka-wielding, celebrity-hosting, whirlwind of a person” who “ wanted an upscale, hip, and unpretentious place for her gay boys to mingle, play, and have fun.” The decor is as unique as Shats herself: the downstairs is reminiscent of a train car, complete with curved, wood paneling on the walls and a bar made of vintage luggage trunks.
Happy hour commences at 4pm and yummy bites like cheese plates and mini-burgers and shish kabobs are served until 11pm. After that, Vlada erupts into a full-blown nightclub, hosting a plethora of shows ranging from burlesque to drag to DJ until 4am.
How do they make their vodkas, you might ask? “It's a KGB secret. If we told you, we'd have to get you drunk. Then kill you,” says Billy, so we'll leave it at that. Whatever it is that they do, they do it well. Classic flavors include pomegranate, spicy pepper, ginger and cucumber. “I also get unnaturally excited about the seasonal flavors,” he croons, like their limited batches of pumpkin, fig and apple cinnamon vodkas available only during the fall and winter months.
Billy goes on: “There’s a reason that Vlada Lounge is constantly getting written about, voted for, and frequented by the most savvy New Yorkers and travelers. In addition to being one of the least pretentious establishments with the most fun loving bartenders you’ll ever meet, it has the capacity to constantly surprise and delight.” So be sure to drop in and experience the enigma that is Vlada for an unforgettably good time.