The Caulfield, located on East 27th street–in the no-man’s land that exists somewhere between the Flatiron district and Murray Hill–is the antithesis of its neighbors. This new kid on the block finally fills the desperate gap between local beer-slinging dives and swanky hotel-lounges full of tourists sipping overpriced Manhattans.

Named after J.D. Salinger’s fictional character from The Catcher in the Rye, The Caulfield brings a refreshingly unique edge to its decor and menu. The cocktail list stays on point, featuring a small but smartly integrated selection of intriguing mixology concoctions. Each one puts its own, playful spin on more traditional, classic cocktails, while giving a winking nod to its namesake and some of his fellow characters.The “Liquid Lemmy,” for example comprised of Rye, apricot liquor, St. Germaine, orange bitters and lemon juice, is a sweeter and more comforting version of a Manhattan and perfect for a winter day.

Also perfect for a winter day: the wood burning fireplace, which is tucked away in The Caulfield’s back room. Almost hidden, the cozy room is filled with flickering light that illuminates the walnut wood ceiling that mirrors its flooring and infuses an inviting synergy into the atmosphere. The owners have plans to turn the space into a game room where customers can challenge one another to darts or shuffle board, yet its rich, oakey atmosphere is far from typical Dive bars offering the same competitive options. With it’s secluded location and rich yet unpretentious vibe, the room also lends itself to become the perfect backdrop for private events.

After a drink or two, when you start to feel that second drink peckishness, you will be pleased to find a delightful menu at your fingertips. Though at first their sophisticated cocktail options may seem an odd pair to the traditional Mexican cuisines offered on The Caulfield’s menu, trust us: it works.

The menu, brainchild of Chef Dominic Guiliano of Choza Taqueria, features classic options such as burritos and enchiladas with an upscale twist. Growing up in a California border town, Guiliano learned the intricacies of creating authentic Mexican entrees, and his skills certainly showcase this authority. Tacos are perfectly overstuffed, with double wrapped corn tortillas that serve as handy tools for scooping up any fillings that escape upon first bite. The Chile Relleno, which is made with poblano peppers per its authentic recipe, is delightfully light and drizzled with homemade tomato sauce that will have diners sopping up any remnants.

Similar to its unique cuisine and cocktail pairings, The Caulfield’s décor combines a variety of pieces to help create a charming, antique industrial meets rustic atmosphere that is welcoming to diners, loungers, and perhaps eventually shuffle-board players, too. Reclaimed antique light fixtures from the 1930s are juxtaposed against modern metal finishes and a glass façade, creating a soothing atmosphere to enjoy drinks with coworkers or impress a (first?) date.

The Caulfield
119 E. 27th St.
nr. Park Ave.
212-686-5500

— Ava Fedorov

Photographs by Jeffery Owens for Socially Superlative