NYC Joints that Missed the Mark

Jan 14, 2020Lists, New York City

​For a city that has such a vast list of secret drinking dens, they can’t all be high brow. We have so many speakeasies picked to visit each trip to New York that we’ve had to become quite selective with where to stay and spend at least $17 a cocktail. Some of the places on this list are just not to our fancy and we decided to pass on a full blog post. But that is not to say that these are not still great bars, just that they do not coincide with the caliber we deem necessary for a perfect hidden speakeasy. 

I’d like to note that I always feel horribly guilty leaving a place after entering without ordering anything. I’m sure people do it all the time, but I appreciate the work bar staff put into their establishments and I’m sorry I’m not rich enough to purchase a pricey cocktail at each stop! But nevertheless, in NYC where secret hideaways abound, sometimes you have to just acknowledge that a place is not your vibe and move on. There’s probably another speakeasy next door! On that note, here is a list of places that didn’t keep our attention but wanted our readers to know we did in fact try:

1 Death & Co.

NYC Joints that Missed the Mark | Hidden Libations | Secret Bars and Speakeasies across the World 1

433 E 6th St, New York | Visited: Sep 2017 

This was the first bar we ever went to where we felt underwhelmed. We arrived and the door was pretty obvious, we had to wait with others outside before going in, and then once seated at the bar we just weren’t impressed enough to stay and spend the money. Death & Co was probably a really cool bar at the start of the speakeasy trend, but now that NYC is full of kitschy, themed, extra hidden bars… this place couldn’t keep up.

Secrecy: 3.0/5.0 
Drinks: N/A 
Atmosphere: 2.5/5.0 
Overall: 2.5/5.0 

2 Auction House

NYC Joints that Missed the Mark | Hidden Libations | Secret Bars and Speakeasies across the World 2

300 E 89th St, New York | Visited: Oct 2018 

To be honest I don’t remember how we stumbled on this place or if they even identify as a hidden bar. It was a very enjoyable neighborhood bar with vintage furnishings and at the time expertly decked out for Halloween. However craft cocktails are not served, the door is apparent, and it’s more like a swanky dive bar. Definitely enjoyed it for what it was, just can’t add it to the blog!

Secrecy: 3.0/5.0 
Drinks: 2.5/5.0  
Atmosphere: 4.0/5.0 
Overall: 3.0/5.0 

3 Beauty & Essex

NYC Joints that Missed the Mark | Hidden Libations | Secret Bars and Speakeasies across the World 3

146 Essex St, New York | Visited: Sep 2019 

This bar had one of my favorite entrances, through a functioning pawn shop. The bar itself however was very Vegas, and not surprising they have a location in Sin City as well. A two story interior, with restaurant and bar, chandeliers and upper class style, but a loud thumping club vibe. The girls bathroom even had someone serving champagne (for a cost of course). I didn’t enjoy the club life in college and I’m certainly not looking for it now. We did order a drink however, and sadly it did not impress. You win some you lose some. This place is popular because many people enjoy it, however we just have different tastes.

Secrecy: 4.0/5.0 
Drinks: 2.5/5.0 
Atmosphere: 3.0/5.0 
Overall: 3.0/5.0 

4 The Ship

NYC Joints that Missed the Mark | Hidden Libations | Secret Bars and Speakeasies across the World 4
158 Lafayette St, New York | Visited: Sep 2019 

Created by the same people who did Little Branch and the famous PDT, we thought there’d be a lot more to this bar. We arrived and saw a sign in the window, walked in and it was super loud and echoey, and had very dull interior. Maybe the inside of ships aren’t very interesting, but there’s so much more they could have done with this theme.

Secrecy: 3.5/5.0 
Drinks: N/A 
Atmosphere: 2.5/5.0 
Overall: 3.0/5.0 

5 Basement

NYC Joints that Missed the Mark | Hidden Libations | Secret Bars and Speakeasies across the World 5

45 Mott St, New York | Visited: Sep 2019 

So many people are going to be surprised this bar made this list and not our favorites. In all honesty, it was a mash up of a lot of great things, that together felt like it was trying too hard. A vintage coke vending machine entrance, great. Neon instagrammable lights, awesome. Retro vintage decor with slots, pretty cool. But when you walked in, all together it was bland and underwhelming. It also doesn’t help that two other speakeasies we love are down the street.

Secrecy: 3.5/5.0 
Drinks: N/A 
Atmosphere: 3.0/5.0 
Overall: 3.0/5.0 

This list will probably be updated each future trip we make to NYC. 

Finding you the best of the best,
Your ever-picky PLIs

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NYC Joints that Missed the Mark

NYC Joints that Missed the Mark

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