When we shot Key Ingredient with Charles Joly at The Drawing Room, he noted the price of the ingredient that Craig Schoettler at The Aviary had challenged him with— ambergris, more expensive per ounce than gold— and observed bemusedly that The Aviary could afford to play with stuff like that, but he couldn't get the lights behind his bar fixed properly. Well, Joly's mixology budget is about to move into a whole new realm: Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas announced yesterday that Joly would be Schoettler's replacement at the innovative bar next to Next. Hard to imagine anyone arguing with the choice, because Joly has consistently been an innovator and award-winner as one of the city's top mixologists. He's also run a more traditional, bartender-to-customer bar than The Aviary with its mixologists working like anonymous friars behind a rood screen, and it is possible for Achatzologists to read a subtle change of emphasis in the works in the statement:
Charles will no doubt proudly call himself a bartender while we made the distinction to utilize 'chefs' in the Aviary 'kitchen'. Therein lies the allure of working together.
We would not jump in on the retrospective Schoettler-bashing we're seeing from some quarters (many of whom praised him extravagantly when he held power of life and death over your chances of getting into The Office), especially based on rumors from a comment thread. But if The Aviary has sometimes seemed too futuristic to be as warm and engaging as, say, The Drawing Room, Joly's arrival does suggest that the concept will continue to evolve with its new bartender-in-chief.
The full statement is below.
The Aviary is pleased that Charles Joly will be joining us to direct our beverage program beginning at the end of July.
Charles will no doubt proudly call himself a bartender while we made the distinction to utilize 'chefs' in the Aviary 'kitchen'. Therein lies the allure of working together. Charles is one of the most talented, knowledgeable, and accomplished bartenders in the country. Combining his experience with the Aviary's staff, resources, and culinary focus will allow both Charles and the Aviary to stretch in new, creative directions.
We can't wait to see where this will lead... but we're quite sure it will be fun and delicious.
-- Grant & Nick
And if you've never been to The Drawing Room, meet Joly in this Key Ingredient episode: