About UsPartner With Us

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar

Opening Hours
Today: 4–10pm
11 West 31st Street
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 1 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin

Greeting guests with a small taste of their Spanish mulled house wine, we immediately knew that we had discovered a small wonder. Aytac and Zaf, both from Turkey, are the owners. They lived in New York for many years, working in other restaurants before the two friends decided to embark on their own adventure. They opened their doors in 2007 and have had a steady flow of customers, drawing from both the locals living in the neighborhood and the strong tourist population that surrounds them. Nothing is made from scratch on the premises, as the kitchen is minute, but what they bring out of there is absolutely scrumptious. We managed to eat every piece of chocolate made by either renowned Jacques Torres or Xocolatti. Small chunks are served on a wooden platter, similar to a cheese board. Delving into their signature dessert, "21 Layer Crepes Cake" was like indulging in a piece of heaven. Thin crepes and whipped cream, topped with burnt sugar. We watched as others shared the dark chocolate fondue, dipping into their melted land of wonder with bananas, strawberries, marshmallows and finger cookies as Frank Sinatra was singing in the background. Although we did not order anything else, there is a menu filled with savory treats - Angry Chicken Lollipops, White Truffle Pizza, Goat Cheese Brulee and, of course, a cocktail menu of Chocolate Martinis and wines from around the world.

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 1 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 2 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 3 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 4 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 5 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar 6 Bars Chocolate Candy Sweets Wine Bars Wine Shops Koreatown Midtown South Tenderloin

More Bars nearby

Lost Gem
Toshi's Living Room and Penthouse 1 Bars Tenderloin Flatiron

Toshi's Living Room and Penthouse

Having spent years throwing parties and doing his best “most interesting man in the world” impression, Robert Chan, a.k.a. Toshi, seems to have settled down. After starting his career on Wall Street, Toshi became an actor (appearing most notably in The Departed), all the while hosting mega-parties that became famous citywide. Now, he has been trying his hand in the hotel business, running the Penthouse and Living Room in conjunction with the Flatiron Hotel for the past few years....and, by what we could discern, rather successfully.The living room downstairs serves as a funky music and performance venue, with live acts every night of the week. The couches are cyan, magenta and golden and might have been designed by a stylish Dr. Seuss. A circular tank houses all sorts of tropical fishes, including sharks, and juts up to the second floor mezzanine. There is a bar on each of these first two floors, with an experienced mixologist slinging all sorts of spirits until two in the morning.But it is upstairs, in the Penthouse, where there is a minimum spending limit so the vibe is a bit more exclusive (all hotel guests have access). Emphasis is placed on outdoor seating, with the Empire State Building providing a powerful backdrop. On any given night, alongside the live performances, Toshi's affable canine companion, Prince Ponzu, can be found frolicking with his owner.The entire operation reflects Toshi’s emphasis on hospitality. Guests can often find him mingling amongst their ranks, or fully engaged in friendly conversation with his performers. Once a first timer in the hospitality business, Toshi has made his mark by welcoming thousands of guests into his own party setting. He has clearly become a seasoned veteran.

More places on 31st Street

Lost Gem
Hyatt Herald Square 1 Hotels Koreatown Chelsea Tenderloin

Hyatt Herald Square

All my assumptions about the Hyatt Herald Square were dashed upon entering the lobby. I assumed that the Hyatt Herald Square, as part of such a well-known, far reaching hotel brand, would be a reasonably generic, glamorous hotel like one would find in any other major city. I could not have been more wrong. As soon as I stepped inside and saw the fascinating art pieces, chic espresso bar, and unique layout, I realized that this was something special.The concierge is hidden at the back of the lobby, rather than the front, which invited me to explore the lobby’s many treasures before speaking to the staff. A series of clocks on the wall, inspired by Salvador Dali and echoing the shape and color of gourds, displayed the time zones of all the major fashion capitals. Plug ports were located by every seat so that guests could easily rejuice phones or work on laptops.Winding my way to the back, I met Nina Jones, the director of sales and marketing. She explained that all the main Hyatt hotels try to draw inspiration in their décor from the surrounding area’s history and culture. For the Hyatt Herald Square, that means drawing on the publishing and fashion worlds. Nina pointed out that the front desk was made from layers of old newspaper, and the brightly colored books creating a rainbow on the back wall were influenced by media and fashion. Nina went on to say that “Herald Heart,” the spiraling mobile at the entrance, is made up of 151 sentences, carved from wood, representing the past and present of Herald Square.Having spoken with executive chef Gunnar Steden at Up on 20, I knew that the cuisine at the Hyatt uses local ingredients as much as possible and that even the snack counter around the corner stocks mostly treats from the Tri-State area. As I sipped on a Double Standard Sour in a classy pink hue at the lobby bar, Nina wowed me with the fact that most of the surfaces in the lobby are made from repurposed water tower wood. I left the Hyatt that day feeling like I had received a lesson in the history and culture of New York, as well as having been given a dose of highly-honed hospitality.

Lost Gem
Osamil 1 Korean Midtown South Koreatown Tenderloin


It appears that only a few short weeks after opening Osamil in the early fall of 2016, the three partners of Nomad Izakaya have another hit on their hands. At 5:00pm when Tom, the photographer for Manhattan Sideways, and I walked in, there were a few people milling about at the impressive white marble bar. By the time we left, about an hour and a half later, there was not a seat to be had upfront, and the tables for dinner were rapidly being filled.Both Nathan, the manager, and Moku, one of the owners, greeted us with big smiles, enthusiastically showing off the beautiful decor. Staring at the front mural - with 5th Avenue and 31st Street signs painted on it - Nathan enlightened us that O-sam-il means 5,3,1 in Korean. From their doorway, one can see the real signs outside. The numbers have added significance, because in addition to being on 5th and 31st, the restaurant's address is 5 West 31st.When the team first found this space, they had to strip everything down. When they came upon the brick wall on one side, they decided to sand it and leave it exposed. The end result is a checker board design that is strikingly different than other spaces I have seen. A Korean friend of Moku's did the mural on the rest of the wall. "We told him to do whatever he wanted - to use his imagination." Moonsub Shin did just that, creating a soft gray design that is soothing and beautiful.The wood tables and short stools are spread down the middle of the restaurant with a few booths along the edges. Liquor lockers span the entire opposite wall, filled with customer's personal alcohol. Be it a fine bottle of Scotch or a vintage wine or bourbon, customers are welcome to store whatever they would like in their secured cubby - for a small corkage fee. Straight in the back lies the open kitchen where Chef David Lee performs his magic. Osamil is different from more traditional Korean eateries found just a few blocks away. Here they are striving to be more "modern and upscale" while still being reminiscent of a typical Korean barbecue restaurant. After showing us around and chatting about Osamil, Nathan and Moku invited Tom and I to take a seat at the bar to await some dishes that we could photograph. Little did we realize that the presentation of these dishes would last for a delightful forty-five minutes. The first to arrive was a sizzling plate of cured shrimp, sauteed shishito peppers with broccoli rabe, and beef tartar. Each dish was presented on a unique plate as a culinary work of art. It was not long before a medley of grilled mushrooms and a large marinated lamb chop covered in a mix of herb and pine nuts were placed in front of us. While we watched Gelo, the bartender, whip up several intriguing cocktails, a 100-year-old oak board was put before us with a very large, crispy port shank. A knife and fork stuck out from the top and the shank was surrounded by a shaved apple salad, lettuce leaves, and three small bowls with an array of pickled relishes. Once Tom had finished taking photos of this impressive meal for two, he was instructed to grab a lettuce leaf and fill it with meat, salad, and a relish of his choice. It was great fun and, he assured me, very tasty. There is no doubt that Osamil is off to a fine beginning.

More Wine Shops nearby

Lost Gem
Quality House 1 Liquor Stores Wine Shops Murray Hill Nomad

Quality House

In its third generation of family ownership, Quality House is a throwback establishment, an “old-school wine merchant,” with all the mystery that comes with that territory. We spoke with affable owner Gary Fradin, who assured us that “there aren’t a lot of stores around like us anymore.” Gary started working for his father Bernard, at the age twenty-three. He described his father as a “legend in the business.” He reminisced about watching customers interact with his dad: “they loved him. I watched successful people listen to him talk about wines, and it was like he could do no wrong.” Throughout (and even before) his tenure, Gary tasted wines to develop his palette. Eventually, he was charged with finding a good wine and selling it. His first was the 1970 vintage of the Chateau La Tour de By Bordeaux, which he bought a thousand cases of and sold at $3.99 a bottle. People loved it, and Gary suddenly realized that "this is what I am good at, I AM worth something.” He continued his father’s trend of focusing more and more heavily on wines, which now make up the large majority of the inventory. Spirits are indeed available, however, with Scotches being especially well represented.Most of the wines in the store are French and Italian; bottles run from the finest of finery to very economical. “What we look to do,” Gary explained, is this: “there are wines that are fifteen dollars a bottle that taste like ten dollar bottles of wine. There are fifteen-dollar bottles of wine that taste like a fifteen-dollar bottle. And there are fifteen-dollar bottles that taste like thirty-dollar bottles - that’s what we’re after. We’re the value added.” To that end, Gary loves when customers come in looking for recommendations, letting the experts be the experts. Indeed, he offers to stock wine cellars for those with a budget in mind but an inexact idea of how to put it to use. We can dream, anyway. In the meantime, our perusal of his well-stocked shelves gave us a good sense of where to turn next time when we had guests to impress.