Monday, June 23, 2014

Speakeasy New York: BathTub Gin

It's been awhile since the Mystery Playground SWAT team has hit a speakeasy but during a recent trip to New York City we stopped into a speakeasy bar in Chelsea called BathTub Gin (not to be confused with the speakeasy of a similar name in Seattle). We were not disappointed. 

This bar is really hidden -- the entrance is located inside a coffee shop, called Stone Street. It's small and they really do serve coffee. Once you get inside, if you say you are going to BathTub Gin, they let you in the door to the bar (it's hidden in a wall of the coffee shop). Like most speakeasy's the bar was dark with rich decor.

The drinks were fabulous. I had the Carol Channing #1 (Champagne, creme de framboise, kirsch eau-de-vie served in a flute) and my friend had the Paloma (tequila, cointreau, Cappelletti Aparativo Rosso, pressed lime and grapefruit and grapefruit bitters). Then we both had a drink called It's About Thyme (Champagne, Yellow Chartreuse, pressed lemon and fresh thyme). All of the drinks were great. It's About Thyme was the best. 

BathTub Gin serves food. We had the gnocchi and it was fabulous. 

Directions & Details:
BathTub Gin is located 132 9th Avenue, between 18th & 19th. You have to walk into the Stone Street Coffee shop to get to the front door. Reservations are advised, although we walked in on a Monday night at 7pm without a reservation and got in just fine. Weekends are a different story. No password is required. They have live jazz on Monday nights at 9pm.  

What Are Speakeasies?
Speakeasies were essentially secret bars that sprang up when the United States outlawed alcohol in 1919. Most speakeasies were housed in unmarked locations, many required a password to get in and some may have even moved from place to place to stay ahead of the law. Many think the name came from patrons being told to "speakeasy" or to lower their voices so no one suspected they were serving alcohol. 

Today, there are many modern speakeasies that retain some of these traditions. Usually they feature fresh ingredients in their food and drink, and though the secrecy is no longer needed, many are in discreet locations that lack signage. Some even require passwords.

You can read about Mystery Playground's other speakeasy adventures here

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