In New York City, popular ideas are sometimes morphed into a watered-down version that then kill the original concept’s thrill. Case in point: the speakeasy.
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The word speakeasy has become a branding tool used to lure New Yorkers into venues that, yes, may pour fantastic bevvies but which are most certainly not difficult to find. Take Tanner Smith’s, a lovely midtown bar with solid tipples and a website that describes it as “a unique speakeasy cocktail bar experience.” It must be said: A vaguely Roaring Twenties aesthetic does not make your drinkery a speakeasy! Especially when the name of said bar is literally painted in bright letters on the windows.
Now try to find Bathtub Gin and Please Don’t Tell, speakeasies in name and function that are truly hidden from public view. Here we have bars reminiscent of bygone days—ones where you can secretly sip the perfectly concocted Bee’s Knees away from the hustle of the street and the long arm of the law in a quiet, dimly lit setting behind unmarked doors. Now those are bars that know how to keep their own secret.