Whiskey Soda Lounge
5 pm-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 5 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday. 21+ after 10 pm.
Whiskey Soda Lounge opened in December 2009 as a place to grab a drink during the inevitable 45-minute wait at Pok Pok, but it quickly became that little brother that outshines its older siblings. Less formal, less busy, and less scene-y, Whiskey Soda Lounge serves authentic Thai food that is perfect for nibbling at the bar. The Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings ($12 for an order of five wings, and you’ll want every finger-licking bite) are famous, and for a reason: They balance just the right amount of sweetness with a serious kick. For my money the miang kham ($7)—dried shrimp, ginger, peanuts, lime, shallot, coconut and chiles atop a betel leaf—is even better, the perfect appetizer for a killer Sazerac ($8) or the best whiskey sour ($8) in town. Prepare to be blown away. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.