What’s in a name? At Bar Moga, everything. Meaning “modern girl,” a moga was the Eastern equivalent of a flapper in early 20th century Japan, rebellious, intelligent, and well-versed in Western style and music. This concept informs everything at the new Greenwich Village haunt, from the hip, shadowy interior to the creative cocktails and fusion comfort food.
Beverage Director Becky McFalls-Schwartz (Milk & Honey, Bohemian) is behind the intricate cocktail list, which incorporates bits and pieces of techniques she learned working in both the Sasha Petraske and Kazuo Uyeda styles of mixology (if you don’t know, Google them). Most of the drinks are anchored by shochu, a Japanese spirit commonly made from sweet potato or rice (among other options), known for retaining the flavor of the base ingredient due to single-distillation. It’s becoming the liquor-of-the-moment at hip joints in the U.S., but it’s ubiquitous in Japan, and worthy of your time if you haven’t experienced it yet.
On a recent trip I enjoyed both the Arcade Smash (Poire Williams, cane sugar shochu, lavender honey, orange, lemon) and the Sleepwalk (lemongrass shochu, Yuzu Omoi, coconut, ginger, lime, rose), the latter of which was utterly addicting.
There’s a brief but impactful food menu from Chef Takanori Akiyama, whose experience straddles prestigious kitchens in both Japan and the U.S. Here he offers comforting, East-meets-West gastropub grub like the Salmon Pastrami, and Ebi Fry (fried prawns with housemade tartar sauce) pictured below. And for the noodle fiends out there, the Kari Kari Vegetable Ramen will be a solid choice, seductive in a creamy vegetarian soy milk broth topped with thin, crispy veggie slivers. I tried to assist my dining companion with a noodle-pull for his photo, but alas, I was unable to maneuver the hefty ramen adequately. And it would be remiss of me to go without mentioning the viral Omu Rice dish, which I regrettably did not try, but I’ll let you check Bar Moga’s Instagram geotag for that one.
This is a great spot for a small group get together or after-work drinks with your latest crush. Do as the moga would do and head over without a second thought.
128 W Houston St.