Fab 40: Speakeasy 1 - Rye, Brooklyn, New York
In cities around the United States, hidden staircases, secret buzzers, and unmarked façades are standard fare. Past the door, revelers find purist cocktails—comprised of fresh fruit juices, house-infused liquors, homemade bitters, egg whites, and hand-chipped ice—made by well-versed bartenders sporting handlebar moustaches, cuffs and vests. The stage is set: it’s a cloak and dagger-like search for illegal booze… except now the booze is legal and the password is transmitted via SMS.
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This is America’s infatuation with the Prohibition era, inarguably attributed to Sasha Petraske’s Milk & Honey, which opened nearly a decade ago and since, has become the zenith model for haunts like PDT, Death & Co., and Woodson & Ford. Cocktail integrity is the tenor of modern faux speakeasy but even so, many proprietors are now trying to dodge the gimmicky “speakeasy” categorization, because, like most things that start out smart and savvy, the concept has fallen prey to novices who know little about the history of the cocktail and nuances of timeless design. We’re confident though that the following five new speakeasies are bound to stick around.
Difficult to find, this restaurant-cum-speakeasy is located on a quiet street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, tucked away under an awning that says “Southside Speakeasy Lounge.” Housed in what was a run-down bodega, thoughtful details like room partitions crafted from salvaged doors, hard wood floors, distressed leather banquettes, a 21-foot reclaimed mahogany bar, antique brass light fixtures, and pressed tin ceiling maintain a lived-in look but in a formulaic pre-Prohibition style.