Food & Drink
NYC’s 7 Best Kept Secret Bars for Cocktails
NYC is considered the hub of cocktail and bar innovation. The latest and greatest in technique, practice, and ingredients originate out of the big apple. The newest trend that is growing in popularity are hidden bars. The feeling that what you’re doing might be wrong, or even illegal, gives your drinking experience a new level. Prohibition-era speakeasies may be a thing of the past but will never be out of style. Here are 7 Best Kept Secret Bars for Cocktails in NYC.
Versailles is the main inspiration for this boozy hangout. Le Boudoir mimics Marie Antoinette’s hidden rooms with gilded mirrors and other lavish decor. The atmosphere is only part of the experience, however, as where Le Boudoir really shines is with their cocktails. The sketchy entrance may shy you away but once inside strong drinks and lively conversation fill the area. Movers and shakers from Manhattan to Brooklyn call Le Boudoir their top drinking spot for good reason. A popular drink is the Epice–Chartreuse, jalapeno, celery bitters, cantaloupe, and the spirit of your choice.
2.The Raines Law Room
Down the stairs of a building on West 17th St. is a buzzer. With a press of the buzzer, you will be invited into a not so “best-kept secret” that’s still technically a secret. The cocktail god Meaghan Dorman has added The Raines Law Room to her ever growing repertoire of bars. Settle into your seat and pull the lamp’s power cord and a server will be at your table in an instant. A decor that features tin-molded ceilings and soft, plush seating. In warm months, an outdoor courtyard awaits. Their drink–William–is made with cachaca, lime, cucumber, and Suze for a refreshing beverage anytime.
3. PDT: Please Don’t Tell
You can’t go wrong when visiting a bar with the name PDT, or Please Don’t Tell. Not only is this a best kept secret bar but it’s often called the best bar in the city. Cozy and small, a heavily recommended reservation will allow you to sip complex cocktails made from ingredients some may not even be able to pronounce. Getting to PDT is half the fun. Inside of the restaurant, Crif Dogs, lies a classic telephone booth. Enter the booth, ring the buzzer, and wait for the hostess on the other side. Once in, you’ll understand why PDT is one of the best-kept secrets in NYC.
4. Little Branch
Aside from the long lines and the sturdy bouncer outside, a metal, maroon door is the only way to identify this hidden gem. Little Branch is hidden under the ground but don’t let that keep you away. A minimalist atmosphere and decor hide the intricate menu of cocktails. The standing-only bar is not meant for lingering so for the best experience wait for a table. This will allow you to soak in the atmosphere. Our recommendation is an Old Fashioned with a citrus twist called the Talent Scout. Feeling a little bolder, opt for the bartender’s choice.
5. Sunshine Laundromat
Nostalgia related to video games is thriving as the original hardcore gamers of the 80s & 90s grow older. Wanting to remember the past and play the oldies has driven the increase in the rise of classic arcades. These gamers also have laundry. Sunshine Laundromat is, as its name states, a fully functioning laundromat. Work your way past the machines to what looks like a stand alone dryer at the back of the building. You have reached the mecca of a best kept secret bar in NYC. Hidden behind are rows of classic pinball machines and a bar serving up delectable drinks in between plays.
6. Bar Centrale
Inside an unassuming brownstone, Bar Centrale could easily pass for any of the other residential buildings in the neighborhood. Hidden inside is one of the hippest post-Broadway show bars in town. A haven for celebrities of the stage, reservations are an absolute necessity. The place to go where a cocktail menu isn’t necessary–they didn’t have one up until a little while ago. Drinks are served with an accompanied refill pitcher in ice so you can top your drink off and keep it cold.
7. The Back Room
Lower East Side
There’s something special about walking into The Back Room. Descend a stairway at the Lower East Side Toy Company that brings you to a winding series of back alleys and up another set of stairs to the entry. If you make it past the doorman, you’re transported to the Prohibition-era. Rumors say that this is one of two speakeasies still operating from that era. An elegant wood bar with gold accents and furniture made of velvet highlight the space. Drinks are served traditionally–teacups for the cocktails and brown paper sacks for the beer.
The modern day speakeasy looks a bit different from its Prohibition-era namesake. Serving up cocktails and good times, these bars are looking to grow by staying a secret. It may seem counterproductive to be a well known “secret” bar but the traditions are strong. Strong drinks and a whimsical atmosphere drive loyal locals and touring tourists alike to their charming locales. Be in on the secret and visit one of these bars next time you find yourself in NYC.