Considered by many to be New York’s first wine bar, Turks and Frogs has matured and evolved—like so many of its best bottles—into a sparkly West Village gem. The kind of place locals are almost magnetically drawn to, and that jet-setting visitors make explicit annual pilgrimages for, it’s worn with the stories that give it such a singular, special vibe. Now, six years into its existence, it’s taken on a whole new sense of life: one that combines its hard-earned expertise and growing wine program with the fashionable, literati crowd and boho-chic décor that gave it its original reputation.
The long, narrow space at Turks is nothing if not cozy, a byproduct of owner Osman Cakir’s personal touches and the living room-like furniture scattered throughout. Here, by the window, a few worn French amphoras line a shelf—relics from the original antique store that Cakir, a Turkish fashion exec turned pottery collector, opened fresh after emigrating from Istanbul. There, in the back, a grandfatherly couch that was once the cornerstone of his office may as well come to life with its stories of excited marriage proposals and great NYC novels coming to life. Each nook holds countless relationships in its crevices, reflecting the years of artistic, literary, and underground city edge that the spot has boasted since its inception. It’s a magnetism that’s alive at any point of the day—be it during the bar’s quiet daytime hours or through the flurry of activity at night.