P1130949Tonight was a flurry of many new things, courtesy of my friend Linnea, a food writer and knower of all things New York. We’d planned to go to a festive variety show in the East Village, but at the last minute, an invite to a night organized by Hendrick’s Gin popped up, so we decided to do both. (Today’s the day I did two things.)

So to start off the night, I headed to One Hanson Place – the one-time tallest building in Brooklyn and the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank – for the ‘Hendrick’s Journey’. This building is so grand, both inside and out. And I was glad to see that recent renovations (it’s now largely used for apartments) kept the ground floor as it had been – bank teller stations, ancient bells, golden ceiling tiles and all.P1130965 P1130970 P1130987 P1130984 P1130985

Tonight, this huge open space was filled with bizarre delights and gorgeous cocktails courtesy of Hendricks, which throws these events sporadically throughout the year. In every nook and cranny, there was another weird creature or a bodiless hand offering you yet more gin.P1130950 P1130953 P1130957 P1130962 P1130955 P1130948 P1130947 P1130978 P1130981 P1130998 P1130996 P1130991 P1130995

The star of the night was a batch of exclusive gin – Quinetum – which was smooth and floral, and slipped down a treat.P1130990P1140005 P1140012 P1140013 P1140015 P1140003

With the start of the variety show nearing, we tore ourselves away and jumped on the subway to the East Village, to the Kraine Theater. This is an intimate little space beneath the KGB bar. We grabbed yet more gin and nipped into the theater.

To be honest, the show, which was created by Less Than Rent Theater and which offered a mixture of singer-songwriters and comedy skits about Christmas, wasn’t brilliant. The best play, which charted an eight-year-old’s bid to become Mary in the school’s nativity play through an X-Factor-style competition, made me laugh the most. But another about three guys rewriting the nativity play (to include a bucket of, erm, bear semen) was pretty horrendous. I cringed for them. A lot.P1140023 P1140026 P1140046 P1140051

Some of the singers were great, and I particularly loved Raphael Shapiro. He had a gorgeous voice. But while all of the musical acts were good, I thought their music all sounded so similar.P1140045 P1140039 P1140057

The show was okay, but Linnea and I agreed we should’ve stayed over in Fort Greene to sip even more of those delicious gin cocktails…P1140006