New York City is definitely one of the most interesting places on earth and it’s widely known that it’s the home of some of the finest and most famous bars and restaurants. But in case you’re more interested in something underground than not many people know of, you will be delighted to visit the following five places hidden far from the eyes of the crowd of the Big Apple.
1. Fig 19
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can easily miss this amazing bar located behind The Lodge Gallery on the Lower East Side. The small, and usually empty gallery doesn’t give away the secret hiding right there in front of you. But as you walk through the gallery, you will see white unmarked door that actually leads to the bar.
Once you’re in, the amazing atmosphere will completely take you over. The room is lit by candles and beautiful crystal chandeliers and the dim lights only contribute to the sense of secrecy. In fact, Fig 19 used to be the owners’ private clubhouse, but it’s now open to the public. That is, if you know how to find it.
When it comes to the menu, Fig 19 offers some of the best cocktails in the city – classics with a twist. And although they are a bit pricy, the whole experience is totally worth it.
2. Campbell Apartment
This restaurant is hidden inside the Grand Central Terminal and it’s considered the most glamorous part of the Terminal. Once you step inside, you will see why. Campbell Apartment is easily one of the most stunning bars you will ever visit and the best part is that not many people know that it even exists.
It was originally made as an office for a tycoon from the beginning of the 20th century, John W. Campbell, but it was renovated in 2007. So prepare to be taken back in time to the roaring 20s when you step inside this amazing bar. The architecture is astonishing and whatever you lay your eyes on, you won’t be able to take look away. Amazing ceiling, stone fireplace, leaded glass window, plush sofas all contribute to the spectacular ambiance.
Make sure to follow the dress code and order some of their old-fashioned cocktails.
3. Blind Barber
Built on the idea of speakeasy meets barbershop, this interesting bar was created relatively recently, in 2010. Located on several places in the country, Blind Barber is supposed to give you the impression that there’s only an old-fashioned two-seat barbershop hiding behind the door. However, there is so much more. There is a back room behind a rolling door, and if you know how to find it, you’re in for a surprise.
The owners wanted to bring the idea of a barbershop as a place where men came to bond – and expand it beyond that. So after you pass through the museum-like barber shop, you can enjoy their fabulous cocktail list which never fails.
As far as the name is concerned, while “Barber” is pretty clear, “Blind” was added as the reference to the original speakeasies that usually had that word in their name.
4. La Esquina
Spanish for The Corner, La Esquina looks like a small Mexican takeout place. But while indeed you can just grab a taco to go right here, you may stay completely unaware that there is actually a restaurant behind this unsightly exterior. If you want in on the secret, you’ll have to get inside, pass through the kitchen and enter a dim, candle-lit room resembling a dungeon.
But don’t worry, the whole atmosphere is far from scary. At La Esquina, you can choose from a vast array of delicious Mexican dishes for ridiculously small prices. The music is blasting and making a really party-like feel while you enjoy your food.
And another thing you can’t leave without trying are their famous margaritas that perfectly agree with the tasty Mexican food.
5. The Back Room
The Back Room is only one of two speakeasies in the city today that actually operated during Prohibition. In order to find it, you need to use the same secret entrance that was used 85 years ago. But once you pass the metal gate, stairs, a dark alleyway and another set of stairs – there it will be, the Back Room, originally created by actual gangsters.
Today, this gorgeous bar is filled with authentic pieces, such as velvet sofas, red wallpapers, paintings adorning the walls and even a secret door behind the bookcase. All in all, perfect setting that will make you feel as if you have travelled back in time to the 20s.
And not only that, even the cocktails you order will be served in teacups – just like it used to be during Prohibition.