Last week we stumbled into yet another very cool speakeasy on the Lower East Side. The Back Room has got to have the sketchiest entrance yet of all the speakeasies I've visited so far. You have to go down a flight of stairs from the street level into an ominous-looking alley. Let's put it this way: if you were brought here by someone you didn't know very well, your heart will probably hammer in your chest, in fear that you're in danger of getting whacked. But walk a few more meters and you'll see another flight of stairs and the false facade of a toy store. Climb up the stairs, push open the door with a peephole, and you'll find yourself in a whole other world.
I loved the lush interiors, with its mirrored bar, crystal chandeliers, velvet sofas and loveseats, copper ceilings, and paintings of nude nubiles. The cocktails, served in teacups prohibition era-style, were fantastic, as well. Our favorite was the Bee's Knees, which is a classic Prohibition cocktail. I don't recall the exact mix used at The Back Room but Bee's Knees is generally a mixture of gin, honey and lemon jazzed up at times with some lavander blossoms. It is delish! This would be an excellent date place—though guys, you might want to wait until the third date because if she's never been here and doesn't quite trust you yet, she just might knee you in the b*lls in fear that you're trying to kill her. Seriously.
I've heard that it can get crowded here on the weekends, but on a Thursday night it's quite calm without being totally dead. I found out later that there is another hidden bar within this hidden bar, accessed through a moving bookshelf and only for VIPs. I just might have to come back just to see just how difficult it is to sneak in there ...
The Back Room is located at 102 Norfolk Street between Rivington and Delancey, New York, NY.