We stumbled upon Maiden Lane on a quiet, foggy afternoon in mid-June. The weather was fitting: this is a bar and restaurant that takes its name, design, and menu from the concept of the port city and the long-past days when men sailed and fished the high seas. Niles, the owner, explained to me that “Maiden Lane” was a common street name in port cities of old. The wives and daughters of sailors and fishermen lived on these streets – cooking, doing their washing, and waiting for the return of their husbands, fathers, and sons.
Indeed, the entire restaurant revolves around this seafaring theme. It is predominantly a beer and wine bar, serving everything from Narragansett to more specialized craft beer, as well as a variety of wines, and a few cocktails. The food menu focuses on seafood, especially cured and smoked items from the local farmers’ market. It’s not a full menu, but the offerings pair nicely with the different beverages and can be used as upscale bar food or a small meal.
The restaurant itself is tiny, folded into a small, square space at the corner of 10th Street and Avenue B. Its simple interior is further evocative of the port-city theme: brick walls, wooden tables, large side windows, and even a stone slab for a bar. The place feels spare, but lovely, and is doubtless appealing to its hip East Village neighbors.