The secret is out! A new edition of Secret New York: Hidden Bars and Restaurants is here. This comprehensive guide to the best off-the-beaten-path establishments includes a collection of more than 100 watering holes and eateries throughout NYC with amazing decor, eccentric owners, bizarre food, and more. The hidden bars in NYC included in this guide will please and astonish underground and post-industrial design buffs, refined gourmets, cocktail drinkers, world food lovers, and anyone curious enough to explore the infinite possibilities to have fun in New York. Written by Untapped New York founder Michelle Young along with journalists Hannah Frishberg and Laura Itzkowitz, the book contains stunning photography by Untapped New York CEO Augustin Pasquet and photographer Alix Piorun. Here, we handpicked 10 of the most exciting hidden spots in Manhattan straight from the book to give you a sneak peek of what’s inside! Stay tuned for more upcoming lists of hidden bars in each borough!
1. La Noxe, 315 7th Ave
A barber shop, luncheonette, music studio, and massage parlor are among the most recent former incarnations of this underground address, but it’s now so full of plush carpeting and sumptuous armchairs that the ghosts of past businesses – as well as the hustle and grime of the subway mere inches beyond the black door – feel out of sight and out of mind.
2. Nothing Really Matters, in the subway at 210 W. 50th St
It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect address for such a nihilistically named watering hole. In a filthy corner of a Midtown subway station, past the glowing green light of a digital art gallery and down the crud-caked corridor, a surprisingly high-end saloon lies in wait. Nothing Really Matters took up shop in the 50th Street downtown 1 train entrance on December 31, 2021.
3. Jazz at Marjorie Elliot’s, 555 Edgecombe Avenue
Whatever the weather, if it’s a Sunday afternoon, Marjorie Eliot hosts jazz shows in her Harlem living room. She has been doing this for more than 30 years.
4. Frevo, 48 W 8th St.
This art gallery is more than it appears. There is little to distinguish Frevo from any other storefront display room, but behind one of the works in its rotating solo exhibitions is the entrance to a C-shaped, 16-seat counter surrounding an open-format kitchen.
5. Garfunkel’s, 67 Clinton St.
The low-light small space and blunt presentation of the popular Prohibition aesthetic at Garfunkel’s gets right what many try for but fail: a believably old-timey room where the thematic presentation both feels transportive and instills the customer with confidence that the cocktails really are worth $18.
6. Keys & Heels, 1488 2nd Ave
Behind the disguise of a locksmith and a shoe repair shop claiming to have been cutting keys and fixing leather since 1971, Keys & Heels serves up top-notch cocktails in stylish surroundings.
7. Pine & Polk, 300 Spring St.
Pine & Polk market and bar make for a carefully curated contrast of dark and light, night and day, and coast to coast. In the morning, the new venue is exclusively a specialty provisions shop offering a collection of quirky edibles – think small-batch jams, single-origin olive oils, and well-branded reimaginings of Eastern European desserts – in a whitewashed, 250-square-foot storefront filled with light-colored wooden display cases. Beginning in the afternoon, though, the slightly sunken shelving unit containing artisan chocolate swings open to reveal the cocktail bar next door.
8. RPM Underground, 246 W 54th St.
In the bowels of this Midtown record shop, a cavernous space not only slings drinks but also hosts karaoke. A combination event space and vinyl shop, RPM Underground offers old recordings upstairs and the opportunity to make brand-new ones below.
9. Postcrypt Coffeehouse, 1160 Amsterdam Ave.
In the middle ’60s, a reverend decided to clean up a 200-year-old church basement storage room, buy a few tables, build a stage, name it after philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and start what has become one of Columbia University’s best-kept secrets. For nearly six decades now, Postcrypt Coffeehouse has continued to operate out of its little 30-person hollow beneath the university campus’ St. Paul’s Chapel on Amsterdam Avenue.
10. Regarding Oysters
Regarding Oysters is no ordinary speakeasy — it’s an oyster salon and cocktail experience where you get to shake your own cocktails and shuck oysters. And these are no ordinary cocktails or ordinary oysters, as Georgette is no ordinary host. You choose the cocktails you make from Georgette’s book Regarding Cocktails, which come from the repertoire of her husband, the cocktail extraordinaire Sasha Pestraske.
Excerpts from the book were written by Hannah Frishberg and Michelle Young.
Next, read about 9 of the Oldest Bars and Restaurants in Brooklyn