Occupying the former Milk and Honey space (the bar said to have kick started this whole genre revival on New Years Eve, 1999), there’s now a whole generation of drinkers who could be forgiven for thinking Attaboy has been here forever. Its narrow interior, anchored by a brushed steel bar, is chicly worn, and plenty of old-timey tipples are available. Some still say it’s a little hard to find, so here’s a tip: The address is 134 Eldridge Street, and it reads “AB” on the door.
Although reports of their resurrection are greatly exaggerated, the last of New York City’s real-deal speakeasies ceased operation in 1933. That’s the year prohibition ended, and once that odd bit of wise legislation managed to pass, in spite of hidden entrances, decoys, and hooch-obscuring levers and pulleys, wowie-zowie, all those gin joints turned into bars!
Some of those bars, like 21 Club, remained open in various forms for many more years. Any place popping up in the interim is simply speakeasy-inspired. These newcomers aim to approximate Jazz Age style absent its inconvenient trappings. See, just like we wouldn’t take a suborbital flight and call it space travel, we can’t really say we fully comprehend the sights, smells, tastes and heartbeat of erstwhile speakeasies.
But we do go to a lot of bars, and plenty of those are rather convincingly fashioned after speakeasies, but with better booze (fewer errant pest particles), improved air quality (no smoking), and modern conveniences like online reservation platforms, air conditioning and mobile payments to follow up with the moochers in the group. Some have circa (19)20s details for days and others would make a dramaturg’s stomach turn, but their semi-hidden entrances, Old New York decor and appearance of exclusivity are almost enough to make us feel like we’re about to light up a Chesterfield, sip some cold clear liquor and–what?–oh, we’ll Venmo you later.
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