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Keys & Heels
Photograph: Courtesy of Melissa Hom

Keys & Heels is the latest addition to NYC’s speakeasy boom

This one's hidden behind a fake locksmith/shoe repair shop.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Amber Sutherland-Namako
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You’re never going to believe this, but another new speakeasy concept has opened in NYC. 

Keys & Heels is on the Upper East Side behind a key cutter-cum-shoe repair shop facade. Although it would be convenient were the hybrid business operational, it’s fake, as is the working class cosplay that covers Keys & Heels Instagram page. While some recent stabs at this genre do little more than ask that you believe they’re speakeasy-lite, this one does commit to the bit.

Keys & Heels
Photograph: Courtesy of Melissa Hom

Between the disguised entrance that harks back to this bar category’s last resurgence when every new spot seemed to be hidden behind a florist, an ice cream store, or deep from within your very own future grave, and the whole darn character they’ve created for social, the bar has positioned itself as a kind of multimedia, immersive experience careening toward theme

The spot was meant to open in December, but seasonal COVID variants paused those plans. It hosted a handful of private events instead, before opening to the public a couple of weeks ago. It aims to emulate “an intimate living room-type lounge serving up warm weather citrus cocktails and Italian bites,” a rep says. 

Keys & Heels
Photograph: Courtesy of Melissa Hom

Its pretty interior has patches of exposed brick, cinematic lighting and warm earth tones approaching burnt sienna, leafy green and sunset hues. Tufted upholstery banquettes and little lamp-topped bistro tables fill the cozy space. It is very photogenic.

The menu includes the Manhattan High Tea, which adds Earl Grey-infused syrup to the other expected ingredients, a negroni and a spritz among its ten listed tipples, plus a couple of zero-proof options, beer and wine. Bottle service is available. 

Keys & Heels
Photograph: Courtesy of Melissa Hom

Marinated olives, house made focaccia, a pulled pork and mozzarella panini and pigs in a blanket are all among the “lounge bites.” Snacks run from $6-$20, cocktails are $18-$22 and bottle service runs up to $350 for spirits. Tonics and juices are included with the latter.  

Keys & Heels also throws magic shows and surprise live music nights, where the artists’ identities, like the entrance to the bar itself, are kept under wraps. Unless somebody puts it on the internet.

Keys & Heels is located at 1488 Second Avenue. It is open Thursday through Saturday from 6pm. 

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