The lights, the glitz, the glam… the traffic, the noise, the hustle and bustle. It can all be very overwhelming and can easily burn out your sensory circuit no matter what time of day it is. But just when you think you’ve discovered it all, you just might stumble upon another little hidden gem in New York’s speakeasy circuit.
Now, they’re not exactly hard to find, but they aren’t part of your daily grind either. Like most speakeasies, these clandestine cocktail caves, are typically reserved to the underground, back-of-the-shop, down-an-alley kind of locale. The history behind these secret speakeasies goes as follows –
In the Roaring 20’s, during the Prohibition Era, when drinking and dancing were deemed to be taboo (and illegal), proprietors opened up shop in secret locations to keep the party going (and help people drown their sorrows). But in order to access them, you had to be invited by word of mouth, know the lowdown location, and have a password.
Fast forward to modern day, and clearly, it’s not illegal to consume alcohol anymore, but the idea of the secret speakeasy is still sexy and so New Yorker’s have put a modern spin on an age old classic. Here are some hidden hotspots to discover –
Raines Law Room – First you must ring a bell and wait for someone to open the door and invite you in. But once you do, this unusually cool underground spot is everything you imagined it to be – dark wood decor, old law books, and lovely leather loungers. Whether you’re entertaining friends, a date, or clients, this is definitely a cool go-to. And let me not forget to mention the damn good cocktails. Try the Bee’s Knees!
Ticos Tequila Bar – A taco bar on top and a speakeasy on the bottom (kind of like a Mexican mullet), this Tequila and Taco bar is one you can’t miss on the Lower East Side. With a “One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila Floor” neon sign pointing to the booming basement, you know exactly where to go to get your drink on. And don’t miss the crunchy churros with melted caramel and yuzu dipping sauces!
Campbell’s Apartment – If you find yourself at Grand Central, just before you make your way onto the train or down one of the historic hallways, make sure you find the path to the Campbell Apartment, the former office space of one of New York’s famous financier’s, John Campbell. And if you find it, do yourself and order a Moscow Mule – one of the only bars in the city that serves them proper…in a copper cup!
Bathtub Gin – The very essence of speakeasies, making gin in a bathtub was part of the process. And this is where this libation locale gets its name. Weekday or weekend, this place is always poppin’. Although you might have to be prepared to stand in line (outside a coffee shop), you won’t be disappointed, especially if you catch them on one of their Burlesque show nights!
Employees Only – You might think you’re going to get your future read by a fortune teller, or so it appears when you walk in. But once you’ve passed the clairvoyant chic, a boomin’ bar scene happens before your eyes. This West Village vice is perfect for a Monday night mix or swanky Saturday sip, but no matter what night of the week, if you’ve made it into Employees Only, you’re definitely among the cool kids. Between delicious
Yet to be visited but on the list – PDT, Apotheke, Slowly Shirley, Blind Barber, AttaBoy, 2nd Floor on Clinton, The Garrett, Death & Co., Bar Centrale, The Backroom, Dear Irving, Angel’s Share, Middle Branch, Nitecap, Freeman’s Alley
And as if all this weren’t enough to keep you entertained, then there’s the off-the-radar restaurant – La Esquina, Beauty and Essex, Bohemian and so many more. Stay tuned!