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Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York

January 11, 2011 1:18 PM

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secret bars Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York

For many out-of-towners, speakeasies are the things of history books and old-time movies, but for in-the-know New Yorkers, they’re where some of the best cocktails in the city are hiding.  If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path hang out or want to impress your out-of-town friends with your secret bar savvy, check out some of these New York speakeasies….but shh…please don’t tell!! By Kristen Hetland, Associate Web Producer, CBS Local.

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Milk and Honey

milk and honey nyc Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York
How to Find It: Go to Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side and find a store front with a suit hanging in the window and a sign that says, “M&H, Tailors, Alterations.”  Enter through the slightly beat-up metal door to the right of the window.
Why It’s Worth It:  The bar is one of three speakeasy-esque joints owned by celeb cocktail artist Sasha Petraske.  Known for its inventive and nuanced cocktails, Milk and Honey is the place to go for a refreshing twist on the ordinary cocktail.
F.Y.I.: Milk and Honey operates on a reservations-only standard.  You must call ahead of time to reserve a table, but the number can be hard to find.  Occasionally the bar’s owner publishes it on the website.

Address: 134 Eldridge Street (between Delancey and Broome Streets) – Map

See Also: The 5 Best Wine Bars On LES

Little Branch

little branch Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York
How to Find It: Go to the corner of Seventh Avenue and Leroy Street.  You’ll see a single rusted metal door with no signs but a bouncer outside.  Once inside, you’ll go down a long stairway to get into the bar.
Why It’s Worth It: Another bar by Sasha Petraske, Little Branch’s bartenders know their stuff! Tell them what you’re in the mood for and they’ll come back with a delicious concoction that’s soon-to-be your new favorite drink.  Don’t know what you want? Ask for one of the bartenders specials.  Always a good choice!
F.Y.I.:
Little Branch accepts cash only.

Address: 22 Seventh Avenue S. (at Leroy Street) – Map

MORE: NYC’s Top 5 Luxury Cocktail Bars

The Raines Law Room

raines law room Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York
How to Find It: On West 17th Street, find an unmarked stairwell and ring the doorbell at the bottom to get in.
Why It’s Worth It: Each table inside the bar is outfitted with a private button used to call on the server – airplane stewardess style.
F.Y.I.:   Reservations are only accepted Sun-Tues.  To make a reservation, email the exact time, number of people and a contact telephone number to reservations@raineslawroom.com. Otherwise, it’s first come first served.

Address: 48 West 17th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Aves) – Map

PDT (Please Don’t Tell)

The PDT bar in New York City

The PDT bar in New York City. (credit: pdtnyc.com)

How to Find It: Walk down a set of stairs into the Crif Dogs restaurant on St. Marks Place. Look for an old-fashioned phone booth.  Step inside, pick up the phone and press the buzzer…once.  Not twice.  A voice answers and, after approval, the wall of the phone booth opens to let you into a small room with a bar at its center.
Why It’s Worth It: PDT is not just a great place for having a few delicious cocktails.  While drinking at the bar, patrons can order food from Crif’s kitchen.  Surprisingly the pairing is rather tasty and you’ll feel like a V.I.P. in a secret bar, getting food to your order passed through a secret wall.
F.Y.I.: If you want to get in, you should make a reservation.  Call at 3 p.m. when the bar opens. Don’t wait till 4:00.  The number for reservations is 212.614.0386.

Address: 113 St. Marks Place (between 1st Ave and Avenue A) – Map

Bleecker Heights Tavern

bleecker heights tavern Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York
How to Find It: Walk to the back of the Five Guys burger joint on Bleecker Street.  Take the stairway on the left to the second floor and you’ll walk right into the bar.
Why It’s Worth It:  Essentially just a neighborhood sports bar, this place is not as posh as other secret locations, but it’s great if you’re looking for a place off the beaten path to have a beer, a burger and watch the game.
F.Y.I.: If you want to access the bar after the restaurant’s close, call manager Patrick Day and he’ll open the door for you.  212-675-6157.

Address: 296 Bleecker Street (between Barrow and Grove Streets) – Map

Employees Only

employees only Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York
How to Find It: Look for a red neon sign advertising a psychic and then for the live tarot card reader.  On busy nights, there might also be a bouncer outside the entrance.  He’ll lead you through a curtain and into the bar.
Why It’s Worth It: In addition to the great cocktails served up by the bartenders in white chef’s jackets, the food menu at Employees Only is something not to miss.  From roasted organic chicken to seared scallops, the menu is full of good choices for a dinner or late-night appetizer. Also, the tarot card reader at the door will do live readings for guests.
F.Y.I.: On the weekends, seating in the bar can get a little scarce.  If you need a seat, or are bringing a group, show up earlier to ensure a table.

Address: 510 Hudson St between Christopher and W 10th St – Map

Death & Co.

death co1 Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York
How to Find It: Find a storefront on East Sixth Street with wooden panels in place of windows. The name Death & Co. is printed in metal on the sidewalk in front of the bar’s main entrance.  Give your number to the bouncer at the door and he’ll call you when you and you group can come inside.
Why It’s Worth It:
Great time and attention is paid to drinks at Death & Co.  Each specialty drink is stirred about 40 times and taste tested by the bartender before serving to ensure perfection.
F.Y.I.:
There’s usually a good wait before you can get in.  Leave your number with the doorman and he will text you when there’s a table open.  Best bet, put your number in at the door, then hit up another bar nearby for a drink or two in the meantime.

Address: 433 East Sixth Street (between First Ave and Avenue A) – Map

B Flat

b flat chow com Pssst: The 5 Best Secret Bars in New York

(Photo from chow.com)

How to Find it: Look for a tall, black door marked 277.  Open the door and go down a set of stairs to enter the bar.
Why It’s Worth It: B Flat has live jazz music playing every Monday and Wednesday 8 to 11 p.m.
F.Y.I.:
To make reservations, call (212) 219-2970.

Address: 277 Church Street (near White Street) – Map

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