Across the street from the Russian Samovar, this infusion-driven vodka bar beats the competition hands down. In place of the Samovar's plastic tablecloths and bright lighting, the RVR has the feel of a classy Eastern European hotel bar. The place is dimly lit, with comfy booths and a large back room.

The drinks are stiff and way generous
and the grub priced to sell (an "appetizer" plate of smoked fish and latkes for just over $8 will do you for the night). A stone's throw from Hachette and Hearst, the spot gets its fair share of youngish publishing trendoids, but they hardly dominate, and are often matched by grouchy theater types and expats for days.