8. Dead Drop

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On 1st Avenue in the the East Village, you might notice a sign that says Dead Drop with an arrow that seems to point to nowhere. To access the bar, you have to walk into North River first, then head down the staircase. Press a doorbell, and await further instructions.

The red-tinged basement space has the dark overtones of Cold War espionage and a simultaneously mysterious yet cozy industrial vibe. Water is served in tin cups, tables are actually chests made from the aluminum of airplanes. Old telephones and cameras are tucked into corners throughout, a morse code tap hangs nonchalantly next to the bar. 

The cocktail menu at Dead Drop is arranged in espionage-themed categories like “Yet to be Classified,” with non-traditional ingredients and “Recently Declassified,” which are new creations with classic foundations. The cocktails were devised by Colby Zito who comes from the culinary side of things, formerly from Eleven Madison Park and Maialino. There’s a little bit of food too, like all Black Burger and fries with sea urchin mayonnaise. As a last bit of fun, the bill comes embedded in a real book.