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little-dipper-bar.jpg Nick Johnson
Little Dipper's food is comprised of small plates and tableside handroll service.

Little Dipper offers astrology-themed cocktails in New York City

The Midtown Manhattan venue was developed by veterans of Tao Group Hospitality

Last month, Bobby Papachryssanthou and Steven Duran, both formerly of Tao Group Hospitality, opened Little Dipper in Midtown Manhattan. It’s described as an immersive, astrology-inspired cocktail bar that pays tribute to horoscopes and their energies by offering ingredient-driven, vibrant cocktails, each inspired by one of the zodiac signs.

The food is comprised of small plates and tableside handroll service.

The partners were both on the opening team of the Tao Group’s Lavo. Duran went on to open The Penrose on Manhattan’s Upper East Side while Papachryssanthou joined Michale Stillman’s Fourth Wall Restaurants. They then came together to open The Ditty in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria, N.Y. and Goldie’s Tavern in Midtown. 

Alyssa Sartor, formerly of August Laura, a now-closed bar and restaurant in New York’s East Village, heads up the cocktail program. 

Papachryssanthou recently discussed the new venue.

Nick Johnsonlittle-dipper-staircase.jpg

Why is astrology the jumping off point for Little Dipper?
We think that astrology is very important in connecting with one another on a human and spiritual level. We thought it would be a great way to start a conversation, and it was also a fun challenge to create cocktails around each zodiac sign and to tie in ingredients that will showcase the qualities of each one.

What drives the creative aspects, including the menu, beverage, and wine program?
Our menu was created around a “Feel good” concept and experience. We want you to come in, get a huge welcome, maybe a high five and have a fun and immersive experience. Our food and beverage menu tie into that playful and happy experience you’ll get joining us at Little Dipper with items like fried tater tots with uni. We also offer seasonal nigiri sushi items such as amberjack king salmon, as well as wagyu beef. Additionally, handroll service will be offered tableside on a Japanese-style street cart with options such as toro, spicy scallop and uni. Large-party reservations can even add on a $95 per-person 12-piece sushi omakase curated by the team behind [omakase catering company] Ten Homakase.  

Are there any signature dishes you feel fully represent the vibe of the space?
We think the chicken bites with French onion dip and caviar is a really fun and great dish to share. Our specialty handrolls like the spicy scallop, and the 12-course omakase, are a great value add and a delicious way to compliment the cocktails. 

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Can you tell me more about the cocktails?

Each of the 12 cocktails that are tied to each zodiac sign are savory and sweet to balance the salt of the food. You can’t go wrong. We also have a full bar of hand selected spirits to also make any cocktail a guest would want. Astrologically themed cocktails include Warrior Vibe, for Aries, with whiskey, aloe honey, cherry bitters, and a tableside infusion of green tea; King of the Jungle (Leo), with vodka, pineapple ginger shrub, Le Moné apéritif, maple, and gum arabic topped with elderflower tonic; Balance (Libra) with strawberry infused amaro, absinthe, and cinnamon cream, and Devoted (Cancer), with dill infused gin, brennivin, lemon, and gooseberry, among others. 

What drew you to this location as a place for this concept?
Community for us is everything and we have focused on curating that at every one of our venues. We think this concept and community are deep-rooted and also wanted to create an experience around being just a speakeasy. We think astrology and looking up at the stars was a great way to tie the cocktail bar to something that reaches the soul and energy of each person that joins us.

What are some of the key features of the design of the space, and how do they impact guest experience?
Our guest experience is one of many facets. You walk downstairs to a New York City basement with this beautiful, graffitied hallway into a mirrored room that almost makes you feel you’re in space. Once finally entering the bar room, you’ll get to experience a screen on the ceiling that transports you to feel like you’re upstate, looking at the stars. And if you see a shooting star. Make sure to make a wish! 

Designed in collaboration between interior designer Amy Aini, me, and Steve, the interior of the bar is inspired by my childhood in upstate New York where I spent time under the night sky. Guests enter the bar downstairs through a stairway with a mural of constellation and zodiac-inspired scenes, with posters from New York construction sites painted by local artist John Herbert Wright. Through a velvet curtain, hundreds of beveled tiles line the entryway, opening up to the 40-seat bar featuring blue velvet banquettes, white marble tables and bar top, plush velvet barstools and constellation shaped light fixtures. 

What is the average price point for guests with food and drink?
Our goal in providing value to our guests is number-one priority. We understand living in New York City isn’t easy. Our cocktails range from $17 to $24. Our food is of the highest quality ingredients and generous portion sizes, priced from $18 to $40.


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