Whoa! Packed at 10:30 on a Sunday night and only one tiny bathroom for all. Hold it in and get another cocktail! Such is the life at Employees Only. This NYC speakeasy has been on my “must visit” list for quite some time now. As a lover of these haunts I knew it was a matter of time before I found myself over here enjoying a libation or two. As these kinds of joints go it is a “high quality” venue and a wonderful example of what this type of bar should be. It’s really not that hard to find as you need to keep an eye open for the clues. Look for the Speakeasyish faux front with the neon psychic sign in the window. A few of us came here recently after our Yelp Holiday Hangover Hornblower booze cruise event for a nightcap. Be respectful to the doorman and show ID’s. He seems like a nice chap anyway. When passing through the entrance and parting the heavy drapes it’s quite an eclectic scene one is exposed to in here with a variety of patrons along the bar, standing along the walls, at tables, with all enjoying the ambiance. Dimly lit, great decor, and cool tunes playing it’s a scene of controlled raucous. I instantly knew I would love this place.
We walked in and ordered some drinks while waiting for a few seats to open up. One in our group is a regular here and knew the bartender as he was her favorite. If you are lucky enough to score a seat at the bar in front of bartender Dev you’re in for a treat. He’s got a swell personality and makes a quality cocktail! Terrific drink list here, but as always, just tell the mixologists what you are hankering for. Can’t go wrong with the Bartender’s Choice. As bourbon and whiskey are my choice of poison there is always something that can be made to satiate my palate when frequenting these fine establishments. As I expected, I was not disappointed. These guys are some of the best in the biz.
You might have to stand for a bit with your drink if looking to score a seat at the bar, or even one of the tables along the bar area. From what I have heard it is always busy. Just peruse the room and take it all in. Sexy classy dimly lit panty dropper vibe going on here. A mix of young and old elbow to elbow, stylishly dressed ladies and smartly dressed men. Candlelit along with a working fireplace. This ain’t no ratty t-shirt and jeans dive bar scene. Put on some real clothes to impress. So glad I had on a suit and tie this night. I felt very “Don Draper Mad Men” here. Great music too that fits the atmosphere. Almost like a high-end pick-up loungy scene going on but with a fun respectful element about it. The decor hints at an old school worldy vibe that lends itself to the aura. Like a step into the past. The way gentleman and ladies used to be.
Be prepared. It’s always crowded, and pricey. Make a reservation to eat and drink in the back dining room if you want to spend some quality time here. Especially if bringing a date or with more than two people. The food is pretty solid. After grabbing a few seats at the bar we ordered the steak tartare which was prepared right in front of us by the bartender and all ingredients explained. Very cool, and very tasty! I can’t wait to visit here again and sit in the back room dining area to try out a few more dishes. Even the desserts look delicious!
One of the best cocktail bars in the city. Period. Expect to drop some serious cash here though but so worth it. Make sure your credit card is free, your suit is pressed, and shoes shined. Bring a date and hope to get lucky. Have your tarot cards read to see. Boom.
Employees Only – http://www.employeesonlynyc.com/