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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NYC's Little Secrets II

Last weekend, while I was off my sick bed for an evening, I joined some girlfriends for a night on the town. Being in bed for three days straight had finally taken it's toll. Cabin fever had set in and I was in need of some out of the house time. After dinner we headed out to one of New York City's little secrets, Lower East Side Toy Company or as some call it The Back Room. 

Thinking I had never been there before, I was exciting to check out a new spot. That was until Sara broke the news that I had been there for her 25th birthday party almost five years earlier. I might have been disappointed for a second and then remembered how cool the place was. It was about time I came back. 

 The only landmark noting we had arrived was a temporary sign set out on the sidewalk and possibly the big guy standing outside. Surprisingly, to enter, you had to be 25 or older. We didn't mind this rule one bit. We were ready for a good time. 

"Don’t even think about getting access to the hidden back room of gorgeous copper ceilings and Art Nouveau knick-knacks unless you’re friends with the owners. Instead, simply enjoy the main room, a speakeasy of sorts with the faux fa├žade of a toy store. The giant fireplace and mirrored bar are leftovers from former occupant Lansky Lounge, but co-owner Johnny B. has added period-perfect chandeliers, velvet paisley wallpaper, tin ceilings, a candlestick phone, and sundry Victoriana. Booze is served in teacups, a throwback to clandestine drinking during Prohibition. As a blast from the more recent past, this hot spot bypasses super-cool D.J.s for simple CDs by stand-bys like the Cars and newer favorites like the Killers." 
To enter, you walk through the door and down a flight of stairs, followed by a long dark hall, which lead to another set of stairs. Except this time, you climb up the stairs and through the door.

That door leads you to this... The Lower East Side Toy Company. One of NYC's secret little hot spots! 

"Chances are, not many things frighten you more than the thought of the government standing between you and your booze.

While our recent run of hard-partying presidents means that we are nowhere near a second Prohibition Era, new speakeasy The Back Room takes you back to the days when a six-pack of Bud would get you thrown in the clink.

LES Toy Company
Housed in an actual speakeasy from the 1920s, The Back Room has a "front"-look for the metal gate that says "Lower East Side Toy Company" and traverse the same path prohibition-rebels used to take: down the steps, through the dark, narrow alley and up the metal steps to a door with an old-fashioned peephole.

Drinks are served in teacups, shots in espresso cups, and beer bottles in paper bags (to throw off the cops). A fake bookshelf creaks opens into a private VIP room, where a curio cabinet will host VIP members' mugs. 

Everything from the tin ceilings, art deco decor and mutoscope is authentically '20s. The only modern touches are the vixen bartenders (women wouldn't have worked at bars back then), the stocked bar (Russian vodka wasn't in the U.S. yet) and the sound system, playing rock and pop.

Out of the Spotlight 
Fed up with the glitzed-out scene at his previous clubs, owner Johnny B. created The Back Room so he and his friends could drink out of the spotlight (his "friends" include Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Mark Messier).

And true to wanting what you can't have, there's something about a drink tasting so much better when you feel like you had sneak around on the down-low to get one."

More of our friends joined us which made the evening even that much more fun. The atmosphere, drinks and company was comfortable and pleasant. We all had a fantastic time. This is definitely a place to take friends visiting NYC. 

1 comment:

  1. Have they ever used this place to film scenes from Boardwalk Empire? It would be an ideal spot. :) I love how you enter the same way they had to enter in the '20s. I don't drink, but I'd visit this place just for the historical aspect.