Ding-A-Ling… It’s your best friend calling to catch up (on weekend plans).
Should you meet for a post-work drink or a late-night dance off, we have one great party place for you to drink, laugh, and have fun with new faces. :: side smirk ::
Peep Dingaling, a new “cheeky” bar in New York City’s East Village neighborhood. Dingaling ably walks the fine line (on Avenue C) between blasé and boisterous – fostering that “kinetic feeling” where just about anything can happen…
The provocative red-lit room provides some of the same “cultural touchstones” as their sister spot, Kind Regards over on Ludlow Street (both backed by co-founders Michael Bray and Noble Harris). The difference is Dingaling’s folk-Americana flair unites with risqué black-and-white images by Japanese street photographer Daidō Moriyama and a topless 1950’s mannequin.
“It wouldn’t feel out of place for a late-night party spot with the misnomer ‘Dingaling’ to be found in one of those imaged-back alleyway dives,” Bray mentions. “It seemed perfect for the off-kilter folk Americana vibe we were working on.”
Dingaling is a throwback to the good ol’ days with John Waters’ notion of good bad taste, namely “to understand bad taste one must have very good taste.” Random thrifted finds from nearby antique stores and other indie shops line the whitewashed brick walls and center bar buildout that resembles your ‘pa’s old-school basement theater concession stand – popping ice pellets for frozen daiquiris instead of popcorn kernels.
Food options (off the light-box menu) include takes on typical junk food like loaded Vegan Nachos and hunky hot dog riffs – enter the Honolulu Dog, with pickled pineapples, creamy teriyaki sauce, “ding” sauce, pickled onions, smoked paprika, green onions, and salt-n-vinegar chips. Items ideal for the special hunger that only comes with drinking the following triple ‘tail variations and so-called signatures by Harris who spearheads the bar program.
Here’s what our host Noble Harris has to offer (and say).
- Traditional: equal-parts gin, vermouth rosso, and Campari
- Tropical: a “threesome” of Solera rum, white rum, and aged rum, combined with coconut fat-washed Campari and banana liqueur. “The fun part comes from the coconut-fat washed Campari. It makes the Campari semi-sweet and a little less harsh in bitterness with the fatty flavor.”
- Mexican Coffee: a maturation of mezcal, coffee-infused Cynar, and Campari. “While Cynar and coffee are both normally bitter ingredients, they play together to feel slightly sweeter. The coffee-infused Cynar is really easy to make at home and just involves leaving about 8 oz. of coffee beans in a bottle of Cynar, soaking overnight.”
- Blended Fruity: “fruit of the day” (like blood orange or pomegranate) plus Tequila, ‘lil’ lime juice, and agave sweetener. “It’s insanely easy to throw chopped-up fruit, lime, sugar, [pebble] ice, and booze into a big blender and then walk away to host a party.”
- Hemingway (that’s with maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice)
- Blended Banana Bread: a blend of rums blended with fresh lime juice, cinna-vanilla syrup, and one-half ripe banana. “It was the first drink that came to mind, and the use of blenders behind the bar which is a core part of the house party vibe”
- A normal “BLOODY MARY [but] AT NIGHT” with vodka, tomato juice, celery bitters, and a “spicy, sour, salty” combo of Worcestershire, tabasco, and kimchi base. “If you want one at 1:30am on the dance floor, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
- The classic-ish “GRASSHOPPER” with vodka, green chartreuse, chocolate and mint liqueurs, and oat milk. “This drink tastes like a mint chocolate milkshake even when shaken, so we figured since we have the blenders, we might as well make it feel like a milkshake too.”
- “FANCY DRINK BUT BLENDED” with mezcal, yellow chartreuse, coconut-infused Campari, and real pineapple juice. “The secret for an even blend is to use crushed ice.”
Cocktail ingredients are simple and fresh (with all elements made in-house), and used cross-functionally with select food offerings. “We use a bit of [vegan] kimchi and a dash of Korean BBQ sauce in our ‘Bloody Mary at Night.’ Both of these items are featured in the K-Pop Dog which we wanted the Bloody Mary to have a similar flavor profile,” Harris adds. All pickling juices derive from the ‘dog toppings, such as pickled onion, cornichon, pepperoncini and jalapeño peppers.
Pairing wise: Harris suggests the “Fancy Drink but Blended” drink and the Honolulu Dog – admitting both items blend sweet and tart in a fun way.
You see, Dingaling opened as a complete sit-down cocktail bar with limited capacity in March 2021. “It allowed us to build genuine one-on-one relationships with the neighborhood [residents],” Bray remarks. It wasn’t what they intended amid a pandemic; however, the result was worth the ride… “by the time restrictions were lifted, word had gotten around and we [were] slammed from the start.” Luckily the team had already gotten their feet wet enough for a full house (party). “Throwing a house party is a no-brainer [for us]. We like to party! We love bringing together people in a small room. Bingo!” he expresses.
What’s next for them is coming early next year, and it smells like a neighborhood bistro called Bongos, on Orchard and Broome Streets. “We’re really excited to feed the Lower East Side and bring some of that dinner party vibe into what we do,” Bray closes.
Banana Bread Daiquiri
- 2 oz. House Rum Blend
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz. Cinnamon-Vanilla Syrup
- Ripe Banana Half, “or brown banana from the freezer – just like with real banana bread… the funkier the better!” Harris shares.
- Pineapple Leaf
- Ground Cinnamon
Preparation: In a blender, combine the listed ingredients above with pebble ice. Serve in a double rocks glass with a pineapple leaf garnish and a dash of ground cinnamon.
“Blending with pebble ice is important for all our blended drinks,” he states.