Boardwalk Empire is coming back on September 8th (to the excitement of many fans). In honor of the 4th Season of the antics of Nucky Thompson and Company, we felt like it was time to highlight the best of the time-warped, Speakeasy-inspired bars in New York. Just because Prohibition is over doesn't mean you can't live like a 1920's outlaw at one of these retro joints.
Opened on January 1st, 1930, Midtown mainstay 21 Club has been the stomping ground of celebrities and V.I.P.s for almost a century. During the Prohibition, it also operated as one of the most famous speakeasies in the country; the prohibition era wine cellar is still fully operational, and houses the restaurant's award winning wine collection, as well as a 22 person table for private dinners and luncheons. In accordance with its history, Bar 21 is celebrating the return of Boardwalk Empire by adding a signature cocktail to its already outstanding cocktail program. Relive history with the Fatal Mistakes, made with Applejack Brandy from Jersey Lightning (the oldest licensed distillery in the United States).
Club 21, 21 W 57th St
When you first walk into the Angel’s Share, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re standing in a Japanese Restaurant. However, in true speakeasy form, the good stuff is behind the back door. An entrance in the back of the restaurant leads to a small but elegant wood-paneled bar, where adept mixologists have been crafting complex, challenging, but excellent cocktails since before it was cool. Sip whiskey or gin-based drinks by the wall-sized windows, and grab some ramen or sashimi while you wait.
8 Stuyvesant St., 2nd Floor
The Raines Law Room looks totally nondescript: it’s quite easy to pass by without noticing. However, once you ring the buzzer (a requirement for being let in), you’ll find a lush,lowly-lit oasis that will transport you to the sumptuous 20’s in an instant. Velvet, black gauze, and hardwood dominate the scene, and a low but lively chatter intermingles with era music. Bartender Meaghan Doorman’s cocktail program matches the majesty of her surroundings. For something interesting, try the Arsenic and New Lace (Martin Miller’s Melbourne Strength Gin, Tempus Fugit Creme de Violette, and a dash of Pernod Absinthe, $13), or the Kentucky Buck Fifty (Rittenhouse Bonded Rye Whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, dash of Cholula, black pepper and cayenne rim, $13).
48 W 17th St.
Like The Law Room, Bar Centrale is totally unassuming--perhaps even more so. From the outside, it looks like just another brownstone on a brownstone-lined street. On the inside, however, you’ll find the offerings to be anything but ordinary. A cool, jazz-infused atmosphere is great for enjoying cocktails or an item from the simple but satisfying menu. All of the secrecy behind this hidden spot has made it difficult to get seated (as reservations are required for the bar), so make sure to reserve or get ready to wait.
324 W 46th St.
Another unmarked door leads to a hidden treasure at the No Name Bar. This Greenpoint spot is located inconspicuously between the office of a local newspaper and an industrial supply store. Wood and burlap bring home the signature Brooklyn vibe, as does the spacious outdoor backyard. Their drinks range from cocktails to craft and canned beers, and a newly added noodle bar makes for great tipsy snacking.
597 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn
Feel like staying in? Then make your own speakeasy style cocktail with these recipes from Bar 21!
1½ oz Canadian Club
1 oz Applejack Brandy
(a.k.a. Jersey Lightning, created in the oldest licensed distillery in the United States)
1 oz Maraschino Liquor
½ oz Dry Vermouth
3 dashes Fee Brothers Bitters
• Place all ingredients and ice in a shaker and stir.
• Strain into a chilled Coupe glass.
• Rim and garnish with a lemon twist.
BLOOD AND SAND
1 ½oz Whistle Pig Rye
1 ½ oz Orange Juice
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
¾oz Cherry Heering
• Place all ingredients and ice in a shaker, and shake vigorously.
• Strain into aRocks glass filled with ice.
• Garnish with a flaming orange peel. (optional)