Raccoons usually den in man-made structures like attics, sewers, and sheds—trespassing human homes like a true bandit.

In urban areas, they occupy multiple dens within a one-mile range for different dozing during the day and storming drains and dumpsters at night.

During the dark pandemic period, Den Hospitality crept into the untenanted Daddy-O space, on the corner of Bedford and Leroy, to mark a “raccoon saloon” in the West Village neighborhood of New York City.

Interior

Interior

Screech Bandits, a brand-new yet old-school diner ‘n dive tributing its ringed-tail mascot, Rocco (whom Den Hospitality regulars know and love). The 900-square-foot “den” provides the same allure of their trendy Garret Bars with an atmosphere accommodating guests – both inside and out – for all-American fare and artisanal cocktails from noon through late night.

All-day inhabitants can nestle in large booths surrounded by warm 70’s elements like a whimsy disco ball, yellow-frilled lightboxes, and traditional diner-style stools atop a black-and-white checkered floor. It’s basically grandpa’s basement bar of yesteryear where time (nor DUIs) doesn’t matter – hence retro clocks, hourglasses, and a “Stealing Time” neon sign.

Corner

Corner

Pockets of nostalgia certainly cite vintage New York – bringing back cultural aspects of the ‘70s (cue Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”).

“People are using some of those stylistic and cultural choices; iconic fashions of the era are all over social media – it made perfect sense to design a bar that acts as a love letter to that time.”
Beverage Director, Max Stampa-Brown

Behind the wood-paneled bar, Stampa-Brown and the Bandits bartending team build boozy cocktails connected to prominent New York moments in pop culture. Riffs on Carrie Bradshaw’s preferred pink Cosmopolitan, White Russian, and espresso martini set the stage. “[At Bandits] we’re doing them with modern and culinary-inspired twists that are a little bit out there but still make sense together,” he remarks.

Spotlight on…

  • Bradshaw on Bedford, a cousin of the Cosmo combining rose hips, rhubarb, and sun-dried tomatoes for Sex and the City feels; a rhubarb ribbon replaces the classic lemon twist.
  • Truth or Pear, a sweet ‘n smoky mezcalita formed after a 12-hour mezcal, chile de arbol and pasilla peppers infusion; rimmed with (leftover) dehydrated blueberry turned salt.
  • I Drink Your Milkshake, a diner-style “milkshake” with cold brew vodka, coffee and chocolate liqueurs, and five-spice rice milk; crowned with a delightful Prioline wafer cookie.
Truth or Pear

Truth or Pear

“When building out the cocktail menu, we considered things like: ‘How do we get glassware that resembles and evokes the same design elements that are in the space?’ ‘How do we present things so that they are still within the realm of the reality that we’re building, but without being too kitschy, and still tasting lovely?'”
– Beverage Director, Max Stampa-Brown

I Drink Your Milkshake

I Drink Your Milkshake

In addition, the menu presents a couple of Everyday Tiki cocktails like Jimmy’s Jungle Juice, a blend of rums, juices (apple, orange, pineapple, grapefruit, lime), ginger, cinnamon, and a flaming lime on top, and Dressed-Up Beers – three beer cans coated in homemade sauces inspired by the city’s “street meat” carts, including:

Dressed-Up Beers

Dressed-Up Beers

  • Halal Cart, lightly-hopped Shiner Bock lager decorated in Bandits hot sauce, white pepper-herbed yogurt swirl, fresh dill, and celery salt.
  • Dosa Cart, golden Montauk Summer Ale dressed in mango coconut curry hot sauce, curry leaf, and salt.
  • Taco Cart, blond Monopolio Clara lager decked in tomatillo jalapeño hot sauce, pickled watermelon radish, and tajin.

The loaded cans are not a “delicate event.” Boozers should approach it the same way they would a stacked Bloody Mary at brunch—slowly tilt the can and lick the sauce. “I encourage people to eat anything that is on the beer because all of the garnishes are edible. For example, folks can take a bite of the mint leaf, then drink a sip of beer, lick the sauce, or try each component individually. I’ve also seen a lot of people ask for more sauce, and you can totally do that, too! Never-ending sauce!” Stampa-Brown suggests.

The folksy sauces show up on the Bandits food menu with four corresponding Have it your way TOTS. “Dressed-up” too, the heavy tots are topped with the works to fill up beer bellies. “It’s been really fun to see people who are having a Halal Cart beer and then an order of Dosa Tots. The Dosa Tots were actually inspired by the Washington Square Park institution, ‘NY Dosas,’” he mentions.

Other offerings include deluxe diner and deli-inspired classics like Jersey Ripper, a New Jersey-style deep-fried hot dog, and Steak & Tots served with Trois au Poivre sauce and duck fat taters. For mod vegetarians: Chickpea “Tuna” Melt featuring fresh chickpea salad and herby pesto vinaigrette with a traditional pickle and chips side; and Bandit Fried Cauliflower Wings with various… sauces.

“I thought a lot about who our [Bandits] customers would be – basically, I want everyone! It’s a West Village bar, and we prioritized hiring POC and people from the LGBTQ+ community. We wanted to make it possible for anybody to feel like they could walk in and sit down; have a steak and tater tots, a bone-dry martini; watch the Yankees whip the Red Sox and go home with a huge smile on their face because they danced to Tina Turner into the night. It’s supposed to have all of the things that would make a welcoming New York neighborhood bar, where there’s something for everyone and everyone has something to walk away with!”
– Beverage Director, Max Stampa-Brown

Bradshaw on Bedford

Bradshaw on Bedford

Bradshaw on Bedford 

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon
  • 1 oz. Rose Rhubarb Sun-Dried Tomato Syrup*
  • 4 Basil Leaves

Preparation:Shake lemon juice, rose rhubarb sun-dried tomato syrup, vodka, and basil leaves; double drain into a coupe, and garnished with a ribbon of rhubarb,” Stampa-Brown finishes.

*Rose Rhubarb Sun-Dried Tomato Syrup

  • 6 stalks of Rhubarb, cut into sections
  • 950g Sugar
  • 950g Dried Rosebuds
  • 950g Water
  • 650g Sun-dried Tomatoes

Preparation: In a large high walled pot combine ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil for two (2) minutes. Lest rest for ten (10) minutes. Strain.