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Employees Only hides under a green canopy and behind a facade revealing only a psychic and her tarot cards. But step through the red curtains and the Prohibition-era vibe of Hudson’s secret speakeasy comes alive. Rich wood paneling envelops an expansive bar area punctuated by a shiny mantel, a working fireplace, and a display of modern art. At the sleek bar, a fashionable crowd sips colorful cocktails. The Provençal features home-brewed “herbes de Provence dry vermouth” and “lavender-infused Plymouth gin.” A Ruby Tuesday ($12) is an icy concoction containing cherry puree and a cordial made by French monks. And the Martinez cocktail ($12), a predecessor to the martini, is seasoned with maraschino liquor and homemade absinthe bitters. The owners, moustachioed gents in suits and chef outfits—and veteran barkeeps in past lives—mix the drinks while Brazilian jazz and Euro guitar beat unobtrusively. In the skylit dining area, replete with glimmering hat racks for your Stetson, lanterns, and an alchemy display, even the tasty gravlax platter with infused Absolut ($13) reflects a commitment to fine liquor.

The name suggests exclusivity, but with open arms, this spot invites guests on a journey to a bygone era. Just keep this between us.

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Bars NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Blowing the Covers Off Gotham’s Newest Boudoir Lounges

Will the bed bar scene last? It depends on whose bed you would rather be in. Located in Chelsea, six-week-old Duvet lacks the item it’s named after, among other things. This white, spacious venue has beds that are as comfortable as cardboard. Don’t expect privacy, either. As I attempted to untie the bed curtains, a manager rushed over and explained that customers shouldn’t fuss with the property. Duvet’s White Satin Mojito (mint, vanilla bean, yuzu juice, Mount Gay Rum, and Moët & Chandon champagne) and pear margarita (each $12) were nothing to dream about, and the bright, fluorescent lighting and generic lounge music only added to the sterile scene. Duvet does have its soft spots, though—a colorful and sophisticated unisex bathroom and a unique aquarium that displays over 100 exotic jellyfish.

A few blocks up from Duvet is where you can find real bedroom action. At BED New York, a well-to-do crowd of gorgeous faces surrounds the bar area. Adding to the beauty is the stunning staff; decked out in couture designs by James Thomas, they wait on you hand and foot. Drinks are a costly $15, but since they’ve got naughty names like Pussy Galore and Red Head in Bed, you’ll be curious to try more than a few. Chromascreen, a curved glass that also serves as a video projection, separates the bar from the restaurant and provides a different spin on walls. Sheer white ceilings, dim lighting, and custom reflective wallpaper provide an intimate decor. Be careful when you recline on the soft Tempur-Pedic Swedish mattresses—you may never get up. Fortunately, you can take some of BED New York home with you: Patrons receive signature slipper socks, which will keep feet toasty for the season. BED New York proves to be more than just a one-night stand—you’ll keep coming back for more.


bars@villagevoice.com

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Oy Vey! Mixing Spirits With a Big Shot or Two of Spirituality

The only glatt kosher lounge in New York, Talia’s cultivates a nostalgic bar mitzvah mood with American “finger food,” Lisa Loeb on the turntables (at low volume), and giggly clumps of sober, appropriately dressed girls. As Israeli-born owner Ephraim Nagar puts it, “No one is really losing their mind here.” An upscale steak house on the weekdays, the restaurant transforms itself into a post-Shabbat party every Saturday night with a certified supervisor on site to make sure that all food, drinks, and utensils are blessed; when he leaves, he locks the refrigerator, sealing the edges with duct tape. According to regulation, the dimly lit lounge—recently dubbed “Club 613” (other name candidates included “Ole Moses,” “Bar Mitzvah,” and “Rockin Rabbi”)—forbids dancing. If people become overwhelmed by the combo of their $9 martinis and the steady procession of ’80s hits (and they do), they’re politely asked to sit down. Meanwhile, Nagar and other wandering bartenders take a cooing interest in the flirtations of their guests, ushering yarmulked men toward unaccompanied women. “There are great possibilities for matchmaking because everyone has similar beliefs and traditions,” says Nagar, gazing proudly around the room. “Who needs to assimilate?”


bars@villagevoice.com

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Bars Living NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

NY Mirror

The few blocks between Houston and Delancey are already teeming with watering holes, but Dark Room—with its sexy dark-red walls, leather banquettes, and crowd of attractive, expensively disheveled locals—bridges the gap between the dingy, PBR-serving dive bars and the swank, velvet-rope-guarded clubs that make up the neighborhood’s scene.

Housed in the narrow, subterranean confines formerly known as Ludlow Bar, Dark Room has all of the class of a lounge with none of the attitude. Drinks are inexpensive—$5 will buy you a well drink or any of the beers from Stella on tap to bottled Corona. The gorgeous, greasy-haired bartenders are friendly. The jukebox is stocked with both the best of the ’80s post-rock bands and the new revivalists who worship them. They even serve cans of Sparks ($3), the trendy, alcoholic energy drink that tastes like a mixture of orange Triaminic and Red Bull and will keep you up all night.

Since opening in August, Dark Room has been the site of many an after-party for Bowery Ballroom headliners (the Libertines, Auf der Maur, and the Killers all partied here post-show), but after a few cheap drinks in the dimly lit bar, everyone’s a rock star.