In this city, unmarked doors, hidden door handles, and mysterious staircases hold many secrets. With the Prohibition era long passed, many of the booze-soaked spaces would be expected to have vanished with it. And yet, it would be a mistake to say so. Tucked above burger joints and through unassuming phone booths, one can discover the city's burgeoning speakeasies that have outsmarted time itself, and are still going strong.
Tucked behind a rustic barbershop, Blind Barber shares the name of it's nondescript storefront. Through an unmarked door in the back of the shop, evening guests can mix, mingle, and let loose from inhibitions among the dance-worthy beats of the DJ. Often filled with intoxicated twenty-somethings, the space holds basic black-leather booths, pattern-papered walls, and a tiny back room with sofas for socializing.
Enter this hidden lounge through a vintage phone booth inside the Crif Dogs hot dog joint on St. Marks Place. An acronym for "Please Don't Tell," it’s a tiny spot that serves up an impressive array of both classic and innovative cocktails, with the added bonus of ordering bites from Crif Dogs. We recommend digging into the New Yorker, which is Crif’s grilled all-beef frank, as well as the delicious waffle fries. Bartenders of the venue beat out even the food, as each one is an expert in their craft and keen on satisfying customers with hard-to-forget libations.
In the space that was once the popular Milk and Honey, two of the former's bartenders have launched Attaboy, a classic speakeasy-style cocktail den. The bar has no menu, so visitors need only express their liquor preferences and mood to the host, who will whip up something spectacular. Don't be afraid to get particular here, as the bartenders clearly know their stuff and can rise to a challenge. With no need to make a reservation to gain entry, spontaneous cocktail connoisseurs can mark this place as a go-to whenever the thirst arises.
This plush speakeasy-style lounge - a follow up to its sister location in Union Square - harkens back to the city’s Prohibition days, requiring the press of a doorbell to gain entry. Passing The Shakespeare Pub at the William Hotel on E 29th street, one can discover this dimly lit cave, complete with 20’s era antiques, velvet couches and an equally sophisticated cocktail menu. Unexpected delights include a build-your-own Old Fashioned and a grilled cheese ‘teawich’, made all the more exquisite ordering through authentic butler service bells. The Raines Law Room is a classy joint that fully encapsulates the Roaring 20’s experience, all the way down to the patrons playing their part.
This secret lounge known for its artsy loft decor resides above the Five Guys on Bleeker and Seventh Avenue - just take a left at the ketchup dispenser and look for the stairwell past the burger counter. The bar, owned by Den Hospitality who recently opened another Garret in the East Village, features chandeliers, two massive skylights and unbeatable views of Greenwich Village. It’s a perfectly comfortable spot that elicits a living room vibe, plus a menu of twelve beautifully concocted drinks. There’s also those specially-made Five Guys burgers below, so you can sit back, relax, and stay awhile.