Secret secrets are no fun… unless they involve alcohol in the back of casual eateries?
New York City is chock full of surprises, so it should come as a shock to no one that some of its premiere hotspots remain hidden to the masses.
But fear not, as we super sleuths have done our detective work to help you uncover some of NYC’s most covert and can’t-miss destinations.
The UES (1707 2nd Avenue)
It’s an ice cream shop with yummy flavors like banana brownie, ginger, and bourbon eggnog! Oh, and it’s also the hippest new bar on the Upper East Side.
Order up a cone with your ice cream flavor of choice, and then cozy up to the employee stationed behind the counter. Kindly say “I’d like to see the storage room, please” and, voila, off you go into a cozy and chic back bar.
Come for the chews, stay for the booze—and don’t forget your fancy shoes! They’ve got a strict dress code and you will definitely not want to be denied.
PDT aka Please Don’t Tell (113 St Marks Place)
“I’ll have a hot dog with all the fixins” and other things I rarely find myself saying at my favorite drink spot.
Attached to an absolutely delicious hot doggerie (our word, not theirs) called Crif Dogs, the only way to enter this place is through the phone booth nestled in the back left of the restaurant.
Simply pick up and phone, wait for the door to open, and then proceed to wash down those salty weiners with some refreshing cocktails.
Phallic imagery aside, this is one eatery-drinkery that truly doesn’t suck.
Raines Law Room (48 W 17th Street)
It’s not what it sounds like, and it’s definitely not what it looks like.
Once you’ve found the unmarked doorbell outside, simply give it a ring and you will be escorted into this 1920’s prohibition-era speakeasy. Sip on tasty drinks and order some grub, all in the comfort of this unearthed gem.
After one or two of those classic cocktails, you’ll be feeling way above the law.
Sunshine Laundromat (860 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn)
Ever wonder if there’s a place where you can play pinball, get hammered, and do your laundry all at the same time (other than at a frathouse, that is)?
Well, asked and answered. This Brooklyn go-to appears to be little more than a laundromat from the front, but the standalone dryer in the back leads you to a pinball emporium that serves a great selection of craft beers and hot, crusty pizza.
Don’t let the dingy outer decor hamper you from discovering the city’s drunkest laundering experience!
Karasu (166 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene)
Formerly a doctor’s office, this unmarked Japanese izakaya can only be accessed through the backdoor of Walter’s, a restaurant by the same owners.
Once you’ve made it inside, try the karaage, or spicy duck wings, and wash it down with a fresh yuzu cocktail.
It’s the perfect cure for the sober blues and is just what the doctor ordered.
Attaboy (134 Eldridge Street)
Keep your eyes peeled for a window marked M&H Tailors and Alterations and ring the buzzer. What appears to be another garment-related service is actually an upscale cocktail bar from the same owners as Milk & Honey.
Don’t bother searching for a menu—this spot puts you at the mercy of the bartenders, who will prepare a drink tailor-made for you depending on your tastes.
It’s the kind of experience you should definitely take a swing at least once—the chances are high you’ll hit a homerun!
The Last Word (31-30 Ditmars Boulevard, Queens)
Located at the back of a hardware store, only a velvet curtain separates you from this concealed and classy Astoria speakeasy.
Featuring craft cocktails and a menu full of tasty appetizers, you’ll definitely have something to say about your experience here.
Did we mention there’s live music most nights of the week? Because there is. And you should go to it.
Bathtub Gin (132 Ninth Ave, NYC)
You’ll have to pass through a Stone Street Coffee to find this swanky locale, but boy is it worth the trek.
Referencing a term used to describe the poor quality of alcohol in the 1920’s, this upscale cocktail bar sports will woo you with its tongue-in-cheek decor featuring bathtubs and sinks, and cleanse you with its strong drinks from the menu.
Got a thing for burlesque? Make sure you swing by Sunday and Tuesday nights for an even more kitschy, intimate experience!
The Garret (296 Bleecker Street, NYC)
If you love burgers as much as we do, head to the Five Guys on Bleecker Street in the West Village.
And if you love spicy tequila, approach the back of said Five Guys, go upstairs, and discover this trendy lounge waiting for you.
Featuring a strong playlist and even stronger drinks, you’ll be gloating to all of your buddies about this top secret (and romantic!) hangout.
Le Boudoir (135 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn)
To get to this secluded spoke, you’ll have to find the basement of Chez Moi, an elegant French bistro in Brooklyn Heights.
Tell the folks at the front that you’re looking for Le Boudoir and they will open the secret bookshelf door for you (just like in the movies!) and reveal a sexy little haven modeled after Marie Antoinette’s chambers, filled with red velvet booths and all.
This is one bodacious barspace that will make you and yours feel like instant royalty!
[Feature Image Courtesy Jan Mark Holzer]