There is just so much win about Bettibar that it astounds me since it’s located in the Theater District restaurant row area. Did we just happen to stumble upon a speakeasy type establishment in tourist central? OMG – this place is PURE WIN!
As we were proceeding on our night of drinking debauchery and were headed over to Hell’s Kitchen to bar hop a bit more and get a bite to eat I saw this hidden gem located next to the Hourglass Tavern. It’s actually owned by them. You have to ring the buzzer to be let in and then walk up a narrow flight of stairs to find Bettibar. You get the feeling of a secret little speakeasy that few people know about, and only those “in the know” really realize it’s there. I’m so happy to know about it now, since I love spots like this, and I am sure I will be there again soon!
You just can’t go wrong here. The owners have set up a killer intimate atmosphere with a speakeasy ambiance to it. Dim lighting with candles all around, small chandelier, old hourglasses decorate the walls, small bar area, classic jazz and old school tunes playing quietly in the background, a few turned off tv’s, and small tables with people conversing quietly. As it was a Monday night and Broadway was dark it was not too crowded with only about six other patrons in there. We easily found a great spot at the bar and took a few seats. The bartender, Kelly, welcomed us with a friendly smile and fun conversation. He told us that it does get crowded on show nights with many theater folk, stage hands, and musicians making up the crowd. We picked a good time to come here for our first visit.
OK – this might be crazy, but here’s my number, so happy hour me maybe? Yessss! Happy hour seven nights a week from 5-10pm. AWESOME! It was already after 9pm and we still got to enjoy this. There is a sign on the wall near the bar with the drink and food specials. What is this I see?
$8 MYSTERY BEER IN A BAG AND A SHOT! This is so up my alley. It was a must. Had to be done. What a terrific deal! You actually get served a bartender’s choice of a bottled beer and it’s placed in a brown paper bag. You can’t get more secretive than this. I felt like the place was going to get raided by the police as in the old time prohibition era movies. The beers you get are quality craft styles too. No Bud Light here. We took a few mouthfuls before sneaking a peek into the bags. RJ Rockers Ball Eagle Brown and Bell Ringer, Prohibition, and Shipyard. Good stuff! Also, Kelly hooked us up with delicious shots – vodka, creme de cocoa, triple sec – that tasted like cream soda. We did a few rounds of course! This whole deal is just so much fun!!!
Bettibar is a breath of fresh air among the touristy crowds, mediocre bars, and so-so restaurants in the area. There is nothing more enjoyable than a bar with a speakeasy vibe if done right. To me, Bettibar hits it on all points – terrific happy hour, drink specials, bartender, atmosphere.
We finished our drinks before bidding Kelly adieu and heading out into the darkness in search of more libations.