A sweet newly opened cocktail den. Yes, yet another speakeasy-ish place. But, this one has a grand baby piano for live ragtime music. It’s a widely know fact that bars with pianos are more fun. Disclaimer: this place is in Greenpoint, not Manhattan. I guess the name Brooklyn Inn was already taken. (BTW neither are Inns) Cocktails are just $9 bucks, but just as fancy as what you find in the pricer and snottier zip codes and with a lower douchebag ratio. On a busy B&T weekends, trust me, this is a better Manhattan to be Inn.
Mon. – Thurs. 4 pm to 2:30 am, Fri.- Sat. 4pm to 4 am, Sun. opens 11:30 for brunch
632 Manhattan Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY 11222, 718-383-0885
A swanky cocktail den that seems more in place in Tribeca than Billyburg. I guess trust-fund hipsters like the speakeasy trend just as much as the next guy. That said this place really does it right. Very nice decor! You will feel that Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald will waltz in any minute, until you realize that their drunken ways torn them apart and that both died at an early age. Anyways, this once tattoo parlour may not be a real hotel, but you will still want to spend the night here.
Cocktail: Commandant’s Cocktail: pear cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice, and green chartreuse
Hours: Sun-Thu, 5pm-2am; Fri-Sat, 5pm-3am
82 Berry St., nr. N. 9th St., Brooklyn, NY 11211 718-387-1945
Another great bar from Milk & Honey owner Sasha Petraske. With the same amazing cocktails. Just name your poison of choice and they’ll give you a long list of old-school cocktails to choose from. (chilled glasses, and perfectly cut slabs of ice keep the drinks from diluting too quickly). You will also find some of M&H quirky rules: no yelling or misbehaving. Alas, some people need to perpetually be reminded of rule #1 “No name-dropping, no star fucking”
LIve Jazz: Sundays through Wednesdays at around 10:30 p.m.
Hours: Daily, 7pm-3am
20 Seventh Ave. at Leroy St., NY 10011 212-929-436
Another speakeasy impersonation; this one is named after a 1896 law, which among other provisions, prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday—except in hotels. Most men worked a six-day week, and Sunday was the only full day for drinking at saloons. NY State statutes allowed any business to be considered a hotel, if it had 10 rooms for lodging and served sandwiches with its liquor. Saloons quickly found a loophole by adding small furnished bedrooms and applying for a hotel license. Dozens of “Raines law hotels,” often located directly above saloons, opened. This led to the transformation of saloons into hotels, which in turn led to an increase in prostitution.
As for this bar, they really go all the way, from the unmarked entrance and doorbell you have to ring to get in, to the very well done 1920’s looking interior complete with the obligatory tin ceiling. There are no beds, but some tables have velvet couches and black gauze curtains: each comes equipped with a wall buzzer to call your waitress, There is a small garden in back. The weekends can get busy, so this place is better visited during the week. The cocktail list comes from a former Milk & Honey bartender.
Cocktail: Archangel: gin, aperol, and cucumber
Hours: Mon-Thu, 5pm-2am; Fri, 5pm-4am; Sat, 8pm-4am; Sun, 8pm-2am
48 W. 17th St. , nr. Fifth Ave., NY 10011
In 1929 Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns purchased a house on West 52nd Street and opened the ’21’ Club. Soon afterward it becomes the epicenter of New York’s social life. So much so, that in 1930 Daily Mirror gossip columnist Walter Winchell (the inspiration for the “Sweet Smell of Success” character J.J. Hunsecker) is banned from ‘21’. As retribution, he runs a column noting that ‘21’ had never been raided by Prohibition agents. The next day, ’21’ is raided. Soon thereafter, Jack and Charlie hire architect Frank Buchanan to install a complex system to hide and destroy liquor in case of future raids, including the infamous ‘21’ Wine Cellar. 52nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is nicknamed “Swing Street” and is home to over 30 speakeasies. December 5, 1933: Prohibition is repealed. 1944: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall celebrate their first date at Table 30. They first work together in “To Have and Have Not”, written by another ’21’ regular, Ernest Hemingway (who was caught doing the nasty with gangster Legs Diamond’s girlfriend in the ’21’ kitchen in 1931). Notable writers frequenting ’21’ at the time include Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Lillian Hellman. ’21’ becomes THE place to be seen. Hollywood and ’21’ fully engage in a mutualistic relationship, feeding off each other (literally). Scenes for the classic films “All About Eve” and “The Sweet Smell of Success” are filmed in the bar room and countless other films mention ’21’. In fact more movies mention ’21’ than any other restaurant en NYC. Every President since FDR has been a guest of ’21’ with one exception: George W. Bush (I’m liking this place more and more). In contrast, JFK dined at ’21’ on the eve of his inauguration. In 1980 ’21’ spawns the power lunch. Forbes says “more deals are done at ’21’ than on the stock market floor.” Part of the movie “Wall Street” is filmed in the restaurant.
As for the 2 decorative stand out features of the 21 club: the jockeys and the toys: Jockeys: 21′ was home to the affluent ‘horsy’ set as far back as the early 1930s. To impart their personal stamp, many breeders began donating jockeys as symbols of their private horse farms. Today, many of the brightly painted jockey figures represent the country’s most prominent stables. It all began with Delaware native Jay Van Urk, such a loyal patron that he had, in fact, his own private table and the distinction of having a ’21’ dessert named in his honor. as for the Toys that hang from the ceiling: Perhaps the most poignant item in the collection is a model of the PT-109, presented as a gift to ’21’ by John F. Kennedy. ’21’ has such a large collection of sporting souvenirs that the Bar Room is a virtual Hall of Fame. Diners can view the helmets of football legends Frank Gifford and John Riggins, rackets of tennis stars Chris Evert and John McEnroe, Katarina Witt’s figure skates, a golf club that once belonged to Jack Nicklaus, and baseball bats from fabled heroes Willie Mays and Joe Morgan.
That pretty much sums it up, but if you ask the very chatty bathroom attendant I am sure she would be happy to elaborate.
Its the ’21’ pricey? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! (but you might want to wait to restaurant week when a pre fix dinner is $35 or just come for a drink at the bar)
Dress Code: Strictly no sneakers, shorts or jeans. Jackets are necessary for gentlemen, with ties preferred at dinner.
Hours Mon-Fri, 11:30am-10pm; Sat, 5pm-11pm; Sun, closed
21 W. 52nd St., nr. Fifth Ave., NY 10019 212-582-1400
Sasha Petraske (owner of Milk & Honey and Little Branch) knows how to do cocktail bars right, more importantly he knows how to make cocktails right. Dutch Kills is his latest installment, but the twist is that it’s in Long Island City. (with prices to match, cocktails are just $10). Although just opened, already the place has a local following and feel. The lounge in the back has live jazz on weekends.
Cocktail: Rum Runner: Rum, Grand Marnier, lime juice, grenadine
Hours: Daily, 5pm-2am
27-24 Jackson Ave., Dutch Kills St., Long Island City, NY 11101 718-383-2724
Their motto is “not done fancy, just done right.” Although the Richardson seems like the typical and latest speakeasy reincarnation, they make an effort of avoiding the attitude, pretense or fuss that usually goes with these places. The self referred bartenders (not mixologists) are helpful and polite, maybe it is because they are in Brooklyn or maybe it is because they are told to be nice. Either way expect designer cocktails with a chill and slightly younger than usual crowd.
Hours Daily, noon-4 am
Cocktail: Fall Back: apple cider, fresh lemon juice, sugar, applejack, sugar cane rum
451 Graham Ave., at Richardson St., Brooklyn, NY 11222 718-389-0839