5. Virgola

Virgola-Alley-Greenwich Village-Hidden Restaurants-NYC

Though in a well trafficked neighborhood, and not as hidden as some of the other bars around, Virgola is a special case. This oyster bar is in no ordinary building—it’s tucked into an alleyway from the 1800s, which was uncovered and carefully restored. When owner Joseph Marazzo was building this Italian wine bar, he wanted to replicate the way thresholds in Rome feel under one’s feet—as if the stone from outside continues inside. Luckily for him, the unusual space that houses Virgola has bluestone floors common to Greenwich Village.

The outdoor-indoor barrier is certainly tenuous here. A tall wrought iron gate guards the entrance. Brick walls painted black recall a dark alley. The tiny alley—just six feet wide—is too narrow for a bar. Instead, guests mingle in crimson leather booths or at one of the black wooden tables. They sip wines carefully chosen by Marazzo—all Italian—or cocktails. You’ll find classics like a Negroni, or try one of Marazzo’s concoctions, like the Virgola, with gin, cocchi Americano, squid ink, tomato water, sea salt, and pepper. The best deal? The oysters, farmed from Montauk, Duxbury, MA, and Prince Edward Island, and always $1, no matter the hour.

Located at 28 Greenwich Avenue, Manhattan.

Check out 6 other hidden alleys and private lanes in Greenwich Village. Discover 90 of NYC’s hidden bars and restaurants in the new book New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants.