Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let's Speakeasy in New York!

Hello from NY, half way through my six weeks assignment in the big city, I must admit I am enjoying it more than I was expecting to. It is still not my favorite city in the world, nor the place where I can see myself growing old, BUT it has some really interesting facettes. And since I am such a foodie person, one of the best things is being able to find food from all around the world. I love starting my day with bottled coconut water and fresh papaya, as it reminds me of tropical Sri Lanka :) And then have cultural touchpoints with India, Japan, China or ...Cuba for lunch and dinner.

I know, you'll say that you can have very multiculti food experiences in plenty of places around the world. So I won't argue with that.

But here is something you won't find anywhere else, or at least I didn't find so far: the SPEAKEASY!

During the Prohibition era (1920-1933), it was illegal to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages in the US, so manufacturers and merchandisers had to find alternatives :) They came up with secret places, that were looking like shops or restaurants, while behind the back doors they were hiding small bars. And they were called so because of the practice of speaking very quietly about the existance of such places in public...so that no police or neighbours could find out about them! Of course speakeasies have largely disappeared after 1933, but nowadays they came back to life, hiding glamorous retro style bars.

I don't really drink, so I have never been a fan of bars, but the detective/treasure hunter in me loves finding these places :) Pure HAPPYMAKING!

There are still about two I need to check- the Apotheke (I know, I wonder if it looks like a German pharmacy:) ) and the Bathtub Gin- but let me share some of my favorites so far :)

  • Angel's Share (looks like a Japanese restaurant, but in the back there is a nice bar, with good food and a view on the street) - 8 Stuyvesant St, East Village
  • Decibel ( looks like a ...Chinese kitchen in a basement?! but inside it is a Japanese sake bar). Dark and pretty underground but you will enjoy it! It is close by to Angel's Share so u can do both in one trip :)
  • Beauty & Essex   is in the Lower East Side and it looks like a shop. You may see lots of people going in, but find the shop remains empty :) In the back there is a pretty glamorous bar where they even serve champagne in the ladies' room!
  • The Tippler- we have only checked this one during the day and you can find it in the Meatpacking District. It is pretty huge so I am sure it gets very animated during the night.
  • The Backroom or previously called the Lansky Lounge is also in Lower East Side and unless you know the right address you will completely miss it. As there is no sign in from of that basement entrance...although you will find a big guy that may give you a hint. Then you walk through a tunnel and voila: nice bar with cocktails served in coffee cups (again to trick the police!). It is worth mentioning that this place has a speakeasy in a speakeasy - there is a secret door behind the library...however not for all guests. So invite a celebrity to join you, maybe you will get it :)
  • Please don't tell again in the East Village. Now this place looks like a small restaurant where they sell hot dogs. Which btw I have heard they are really good! Once you enter the restaurant there is a phone booth :) Go in, pick up the phone and dial 1. A nice lady will answer and let you know if you can come in or there is a waiting list.
This should be enough for now :) Enjoy your little, happymaking detective work and let me know which one was your favorite!