August 17, 2022
Hidden Entrances and Jazz Age Cocktails: Manhattan’s Speakeasy Scene__ Read article
Hidden Entrances and Jazz Age Cocktails: Manhattan’s Speakeasy Scene
Want to travel back in time? Then grab your favorite stole, slap on a fedora, and make sure you remember the password to one of the authentic speakeasies that dot the island of Manhattan. Keep reading for a brief history of Prohibition as well as Algin Management’s selection of the best speakeasies operating around New York City.
While selling and imbibing alcohol is perfectly legal today, a hundred years ago, the Volstead Act had just slammed down, kicking off an iconic era in American culture defined by daring smugglers, hard liquor, and a hot jazz soundtrack. The most enduring invention of the Prohibition era was the speakeasy, a sub rosa drinking establishment, often disguised as a legitimate business that revealed a packed barroom when a bouncer was given the password. A few of these hidden barrooms still exist, including some that were doing illegal business a hundred years ago. Manhattanites have the unique opportunity to travel back in time to the Roaring Twenties simply by entering one of these establishments.
Known in the 1920s as “The Back of Ratner’s,” The Back Room on the Lower East Side was home to countless “business meetings” attended by Jazz Age gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. Today, guests access the barroom via one of the bar’s many secret entrances and select their drinks from a menu of Prohibition era-inspired cocktails. No matter what you order, it will come in a plain white teacup, a throwback to the vessels used to disguise alcoholic drinks from prying eyes. (If you order a beer, you’ll receive your beverage in a brown paper bag.) Keep an eye out for a certain bookcase which, when pushed, will open to reveal The Back Room’s hidden VIP area.
While The Back Room’s entrance is marked by a faded sign for a toy company, our next speakeasy, Keys & Heels on the Upper East Side, takes the subterfuge one step further, hiding its lavish barroom behind a locksmith/shoe repair shop that even has its own Instagram page. Once you’re inside, though, abandon all hope of finding a cobbler, and settle in at one of the spacious barroom’s well-appointed tables. Keys & Heels also hosts live magic shows and music nights featuring surprise performers, making every night in the subterranean space an adventure.
For a modern take on speakeasy culture, try neon-lit Not a Speakeasy, also on the Upper East Side. The newest addition to our list is also one of the hippest, complete with an Instagram-worthy mural featuring famous gangsters and a selection of cocktails served in time-period-appropriate vessels, like a cough medicine bottle prescribed for one Alphonse Capone.
Just like knowing the password to get into a speakeasy, there are some unwritten rules to finding the right no-fee apartments in NYC. So, reach out to Algin Management today and tap into our expertise. Your secret will be safe with us.