Start spreading the news… Hell’s Kitchen bar On the Rocks has been named as one of New York’s top five hidden gems.
The accolade comes from an unlikely source in one of the US’s most distant states – Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands tour guide lists the whiskey haven as one of NYC’s top five “ultimate hidden gem tourist spots” — which is great news for the man behind On the Rocks, Howard “Howie” Ostrofsky.
“As long as I’m not infamous, that’s ok.” Howie said about the recognition. “I wanted to put together a collection of really good whiskeys for the men and women that come in here. I want to exceed their expectations. What makes On the Rocks unique is my selection of whiskeys and my staff. The staff are very knowledgeable.”
Howie opened On the Rocks 14 years ago at 696 10th Avenue with the goal of offering a haven for those who appreciate a well-crafted glass of whiskey — and he says the bar is a direct reflection of his personality.
“As a young man, I always knew Hell’s Kitchen was a great drinking neighborhood, so when you open a bar, you go to a great drinking neighborhood,” he said.
The classic tunes of a Frank Sinatra playlist set the mood at On The Rocks and Howie believes that Ol’ Blue Eyes’ music pairs perfectly with whiskey, creating an inviting atmosphere to all who come by.
Customers can choose from an extensive selection of tipples, including Japanese whisky, Bourbon, Rye whiskey, Irish whiskey and single malt whisky, among others. They even have “unicorn” bottles, known for their rarity. “On the Rocks has some of the best bottles that are available in the United States,” said Howie proudly.
“We try to exceed everyone’s expectations on our selection of whiskey that we deliver to them along with excellent hospitality. It’s all about the guests. The customers are in charge.”
And it’s not only the customers who appreciate Howie’s attention to detail. Suzy Darling, who owns The Pocket Bar and The Back Pocket Bar, which are on streets on either side of On the Rocks, said: “When the line for Howie’s bar is around the block, I hope to get some extra customers in my bars.”