Juga Lounge is a quaint, cozy watering hole located by Herald Square. Yes, I know that first line reads like a real estate agent’s pitch, but though the place is small, I have yet to feel claustrophobia sink into my bones with the ferocity of a hundred marmots. It is located above a restaurant named Kristabelli.  Just open that wooden, heavy-looking door and go up the stairs instead of into the restaurant.  Every time I find one of these spots, I smack myself upside the head and wonder how I did not find it sooner.  Have a few of their drinks and you will do the same.  My favorite is the Matcha Fizz (Vertical vodka, matcha powder, lemon juice, and honey syrup).  It is a smooth drink though admittedly, it is not one of the more visually stimulating ones on the menu.
     If you want to really stick it to teetotalers and 1920s federal agents, try the Volstead (Vertical vodka, lemon juice, St. Germain, muddled strawberries, and a dash of rose water).  My friend thought it was the prettiest drink.

     Be sure to try to the Blood Orange Sazerac (blood orange infused whiskey, honey, and angostura bitters).  If that is not enough to whet your appetite, consider that they set aflame the inside the glass they will use.  Watch the fire dance before they pour the drink.  It is a fairly good drink, all aesthetics aside. Jae is a friendly bartender whose dedication to his craft is obvious.  When I went to Juga to celebrate a friend’s birthday, a few of us asked Jae to make something that was not on the menu for the birthday boy.  Jae put together a blue concoction which he then set aflame.  The man of the hour blew out the fire and sipped his drink.  He enjoyed it and remarked that it was strong and smooth. The happy hour deal includes $5 beers, $6 mixed drinks (with well liquor), and $8 signature cocktails. The best thing about this place is the lack of pretension.  You do not have to be a penguin or decked out in your favorite cocktail dress to fit in here.  You go to this place for good drinks and conversation with your friends or your date.  This is a terrific spot for date numero uno and going here would be a big step in securing date numero dos. Juga Lounge opens at 5pm but the crowd does not start filtering in until 7pm.  The music is not so loud that you have to be scream to be heard.  So if you want to meet up for a relatively private chat with your friend to discuss how much of a moron your boss is or how your last date went about, as well as the Mets 2013 season, show up a bit earlier than 7pm. Visit Juga Lounge and it will be the launching pad for a great night.