The Citiblog

Inside Chinato, an Immersive New Cocktail Bar on the Lower East Side
September 11, 2023, 11:50.41 pm ET


Photos: Karen Cen

Located on the corner of Staton and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side is Chinato. The cocktail bar is led by Ray Zhou who made a name for himself at Double Chicken Please which was #1 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list this year. At Chinato, Zhou is focusing on his humble beginnings traveling from Dalian in Northeastern China to New York City – hence the name “China-to.”

Chinato’s unconventional layout offers a unique way for guests to experience a cocktail bar – it’s intimate, immersive, and interactive, centered around an island-style bar where there is no front or back. This offers guests at one of the island’s four seats a unique vantage point to the action. There is also a traditional bar that seats five, and additional table seating for 20. The space features mixed woods, exposed brick, and stainless steel accents. Black leather tufted bar stools and plush grey-green chairs offer comfort, while the ceiling’s fishboned wood detailing and hanging circular light fixture adds drama.

Cocktails are a true labor of love with some components taking up to 10 hours to prepare in advance. They include the Chinato (a nod to Bleachers and Bruce Springsteen’s “Chinatown”) with Chinato, lychee, bayberry, goji berry, Ming River baijiu, and bourbon; the Gin & Juice (inspired by Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice”) is a mix of gin, earl gray, grapefruit, strawberry, rhubarb, Campari, and clarified yogurt; and the Vermouth (an ode to Digby Vermouth’s “Supernova Dreamsicle”) is a mix of Quinquina, husk cherry, bergamot, and osmanthus.

Chef Zhaojin Dai, the sous chef at two Michelin star Jungsik, developed the food program at Chinato. It includes the Taco with fluke, seaweed, avocado, and orange; Fries with seaweed, wasabi, and soy; Rice Bowl with veal tongue, wagyu, shacha, shiitake, and egg yolk, and The Grilled, a scallop dish with Fava bean, pickled radish, and micro cilantro. For dessert, there is Black Rice Pudding with mango and coconut, and Ron Zacapa 23 rum.

Chinato is located at 108 Stanton St, New York, NY. For more information, visit