Bartender pouring drinks into three cocktail glasses on a bar counter, with cocktail-making tools ne...

Nylon Nights

Kabin Is Where You Should Go Before Paul’s Casablanca

Hit up this new Nordic-inspired bar, then the club.

by Tim Latterner

Kabin sits in what could be called a Bermuda Triangle for diners, where otherwise good places are forgotten simply because they’re not in a more trafficked area. But the new Nordic-inspired bar might change that by making the most of the gravitational pull of the nightlife crowd headed to its neighbor: Paul’s Casablanca.

Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 p.m. to well past 1 a.m., this same stretch of Spring Street typically sees a line of revelers, so Kabin stands to become the perfect launch pad for a big night out. Get an 8 or 8:30 p.m. reservation, have some drinks and lighter Swedish plates by chef Johnny Spero (mostly things on bread), then hop across the street to dance until the sun comes up.

At the opening party on June 24, the bar checks all the boxes to encourage repeat partygoer business. Most guests wore flower crowns in accordance with the night’s Midsommar theme, while a DJ played dance music from a variety of European and Nordic artists to a crowd that stayed mostly on their feet. Just a couple steps past the door, guests spritzed the backs of their hands with the contents of a small spray bottle labeled “VODKA” and took bumps from a large tin of caviar before moving along with a glass of champagne.

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At the bar, the staff was hard at work whipping up cocktails made with Nordic garnishes, spirits, and flavors. I went with the “Lillesand,” a combination of gin, pisco, lingonberry, citrus, and soda, which tasted like a refreshing cherry soda. Once the room filled, attendees periodically stepped outside to hit up the candy stand from Swedish (by way of Allen Street) candy shop BonBon. As it turns out, chewy raspberry lips are an excellent complement to both champagne and aquavit.

The crowd was young, fun, and looking for a good time that Kabin seemed ready to deliver on. The drinks are fizzy, and the smoked halibut on brown bread and toast points with radish and pickled onion were delicious. This isn’t the place to come for long, languid conversations over multiple bottles of wine, but it is the place to set the right tone for the rest of your night.