Monday, June 20, 2011

More speakin' easy

As promised, I have been exploring some of NY's hidden bars (for which read - ostensibly secret but actually hugely popular and well documented bars leaping on the speakeasy trendwagon).

Last night we had a nice friends and family dinner at Pastis, at the Wondertwin's behest. Afterwards we decided it would be plain silly to go home at a civilised hour on a Sunday night. Instead we wandered down into the Village, to Employees Only.

If you want somewhere that feels slightly clandestine even before you enter, Employees Only fits the bill. The bar has blacked out windows, and a flouro psychic sign is the only indication of occupancy.

As you approach the storefront, a burly chap who looks like he's waiting for a bus apprehended us. I think he just wanted to check that we knew what we are about.

'Are you here for a drink?' he mutters. 'Affirmative,' we responded. Apparently satisfied, he let us pass.
Inside, there actually is a psychic sitting in the doorway. Thirsty, we passed on the whole ESP experience, and headed into the bar. Despite being late on a Sunday, it was pretty busy and with significantly more atmosphere than the Lenox Lounge midweek.
The burlesque girl on our visit was less skinny and also not dancing on the bar. But the vibe was similar.

The bar staff are quite intense and really super super serious. I suspect they don't call themselves bartenders, or even mixologists, but something far more heavyweight like 'Creative Director of Taste Combination.' They denied our request for a virgin bloody mary, insisting 'we don't do that', as if we'd just asked them to slaughter a small child. (The tomato juice and celery behind them gave the lie away). During the fifteen minutes it took the two of them to prepare a couple of cocktails neither one of them cracked a smile or made eye contact with us. It probably disturbs the vapours or something.

Still, well worth the wait. The cocktails were superb. Mine went straight into my Top 3 Perfect Manhattans of All Time list. The music was danceably good (Stevie Wonder, how can you not break out?! Although the Wondertwin and I did wonder why no-one else felt the same way. Fools). And we got treated to a little impromptu burlesque show to boot.

All in all, an excellent way to wind up a quiet Sunday night dinner. Hurrah for the speakeasy! Campbell's Apartment tomorrow...

No comments:

Post a Comment