New York’s Best Kept Secrets

Slowly Shirley – Downstairs

Would you like to know a secret? There’s no denying that everyone loves a well-kept secret; especially one that involves hand crafted cocktails, dim lighting, and old-school, swanky music. We have whipped out our detective gear and found the best places in New York to go for such an experience: the speakeasy. While there is a myriad of speakeasies in New York City, we have selected a few of our favorites to tell you about. The rest you may ask, well we will leave it up to you to find them.

PDT: Please Don’t Tell | 113 St Marks Place, New York, NY 10009

Please Don’t Tell is one of New York City’s best kept secret establishments. Patrons enter a seemingly innocent hotdog restaurant on St. Marks Place, Crif Dogs, and make their way to the back where there is an unsuspecting vintage phone booth. From there, pick up the phone and press the buzzer once. A voice answers and, after approval, the wall of the phone booth opens to a small room with a bar at its center. The stylishly low-key, relaxed feel of the venue is spiced up by funky touches in the décor, such as the taxidermy adorned walls. Sit back and enjoy one their delicious cocktails and even a nice hotdog from Crif Dogs. We recommend the Chang Dog: a deep fried hot dog wrapped in bacon and smothered in Chang’s own Momofuku Ssäm Bar red kimchee purée and named after celebrity chef and restaurateur David Chang.

Slowly Shirley | Downstairs, 121 W 10th Street, New York, NY 10011

Situated in a subterranean cocktail lounge below the famous Happiest Hour in the West Village, Slowly Shirley remains one of the less known speakeasies around the city. That downlow reputation, however, is just the reason why it is one of our favorites.  Celebrating Art Deco décor, old school hotel service and both classic and contemporary cocktails, this venue transports guests to Hollywood’s Golden Age, when glamour and sophistication held sway. The music here continues to pay homage to the roaring 20s, honoring the jazz from the period, but the venue also introduces some contemporary jazz in the mix. Yet, what truly makes Slowly Shirley a stand out are its cocktails. With over a thirty page cocktail menu – one of the most extensive in the city – guests select from a wide range of categories. One cannot go wrong here; but if you like something with a kick, definitely try the Perla Negra.


Death & Co

The Garret | 2nd Floor, 296 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014

Ever enter a burger joint, ascend the stairs and find yourself in a bar? Well, if you go to the Garret in the West Village above the Five Guys restaurant, you will find yourself in such an establishment. The Garret, though not affiliated with Five Guys, does in fact offer ‘Five Guys’ burgers that you cannot find at any other Five Guys. Such favorite burgers on the menu include the Italian Neighbors Burger (with Ottomanelli Brothers prosciutto both outside and in, and house-made marinara from Pagani), the Sixth Man Burger (with Sriracha, five spice, and mustard seed), and the Garret Burger (with steak marinade dust and Luger sauce). While the swanky, trendy bar does flip up a great burger, it is still at nature a bar, and the great cocktails it presents to patrons render it a great one at that. So, sit down and enjoy a gourmet cocktail with that juicy burger of yours. We recommend that Rosarita Stick Up: a tequila drink with rosemary thyme syrup, egg white, lemon juice, and Grand Marnier topped with rose petals.

The Back Room | 102 Norfolk Street, New York, NY 10002

Locate a sign that reads “Lower East Side Toy Company,” then walk down a dingy outdoor back alley, up a set of metal stairs, and find an unmarked door with an old-fashioned peephole; you have discovered The Back Room. Housed in an actual 1920s speakeasy that prohibition rebels frequented, the Back Room embodies everything a speakeasy was then and should be today. Drinks are served in teacups, shots in espresso cups, and beer bottles in paper bags (to throw off the cops). Even the bar’s décor calls to mind the glitz and glamour of the Golden Age’s decadence. The Back Room flaunts period-perfect chandeliers, velvet paisley wallpaper, gorgeous tin ceilings, a candlestick phone, and sundry Victoriana. The Back Room is without a doubt a true 1920s establishment.


PDT: Please Don’t Tell

Death & Co | 433 E 6th Street, New York, NY 10009

One cannot speak of speakeasies without mention of the famed Death & Co in New York’s East Village. Death & Co is a New York cocktail institution, and has been serving up its renowned drinks since New Year’s Eve 2006/07. Hiding behind distinctive doors, the low-lit and intimate interior exudes a cool, jazzy vibe. Kerosene lanterns and crystal chandeliers add to the atmosphere, scattering shadows up the gold-flecked walls, while the granite tables and suede banquettes have evidently been chosen for their understated, elegant look. The craft and classic cocktails served up at Death & Co match the décor, as they too are high-end and decadent. Favorites include the Rumor Mill, Yellowjacket, and Echo Chamber, just to name a few. In 2010, Death & Co won Best American Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited awards. Death & Co continues to receive worldwide recognition as a cocktail industry leader, and even published a book, Death & Co Modern Classic Cocktails, for those cocktail aficionados who would like to give a go at crafting the bar’s classics at home.

Provided by Total Management US

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