Where once the allure of New York’s nightlife scene was strictly bottle service and overpriced designer cocktails, wise impresarios are realizing that today’s patrons favor a gourmet bite with their imbibing. GoldBar, the Nolita hotspot recently taken over by Shaun Rose, Udi Vaknin, and Jonny Lennon, has undergone an elegant overhaul that not only simplified the 24-karat décor, but also introduced an extensive menu of small plates and bite-size appetizers.

Under the direction of chef Ulrich Sterling (Agua Dulce, SushiSamba), the 25-item menu includes both sweet and savory bites, such as the light-as-air lobster and corn fritters served with chili maple and aioli dipping sauces. An array of crostinis topped with everything from ricotta and honey to niçoise tapenade lean toward the lighter side, while cheese and charcuterie plates are perfect for sharing. However, it’s in the tapas and mini sandwich selections that chef Sterling shows a creative hand. The tuna tartare tacos are a welcome treat, but the bacon wrapped dates filled with gorgonzola, pistachio, and pomegranate are completely irresistible. (We had two orders on our visit, making us too filled to try our waitress’ recommendation, the braised short rib grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions and muenster.)

“We wanted a menu that would work in tandem with the incredible cocktail menu that head bartender Tim Cooper created,” says Rose. “Chef Sterling created a small bites/sharable menu that although small in size is big on taste.” Under Cooper’s guidance, GoldBar’s cocktail menu now boasts titillating selections that put a sophisticated twist on recognizable ingredients, which is a draw for patrons in this neighborhood where upscale cocktailing options are sparse. For example, the Flight to Paris combines Champagne, Lillet, Benedictine, and absinthe with lemon juice and orange oil, while the Born Under a Star brings together smoky mezcal with salt pork, Campari, and Carpano Antica vermouth.

In addition to the changes in the kitchen and behind the bar, the space, too, has been updated. The new owners have added velvet banquettes, a more pronounced DJ booth, and new hours—GoldBar now opens at 5 p.m. to cater to an after-work crowd before shifting to a faster-paced nightclub later in the evening. “We felt the room needed a bit of a facelift to correspond with the changes in the industry as well the changes we were making conceptually,” says Rose. “The changes that were made in the bar area, such as adding dark woods and mirrors, provide a warmer atmosphere while creating a better flow at the bar. In the lounge area we added a VIP area and created a new DJ booth that is now the center of the room.” 389 Broome St., 212-274-1568

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