The Back Room

Speakeasy
The Back Room The Back Room in New York's Lower East Side is a cool speakeasy that takes prohibition very seriously. Get in on this NYC secret at Party Earth. New York United States 40.718723 -73.986913
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The Back Room - Speakeasy in New York.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review From its secret location to its art deco décor to the camouflaged drinks, the Back Room takes the speakeasy theme seriously – and literally too. Once past a tattered sign for the fictitious LES Toy Company, guests navigate... ... read full review

  • Subway:

    F, J, M, Z: Essex Street / Delancey Street

  • Phone:

    212-228-5098

  • Hours:

    M–W 7:30pm–2am, Th 7:30pm–3am, F–Su 7:30pm–4am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Back Room Review

The Scene

The Back Room in New York's Lower East Side is a cool speakeasy that takes prohibition very seriously. Get in on this NYC secret at Party Earth.

From its secret location to its art deco décor to the camouflaged drinks, the Back Room takes the speakeasy theme seriously – and literally too.

Once past a tattered sign for the fictitious LES Toy Company, guests navigate a spooky alleyway before entering a Victorian space seemingly pulled from an episode of Boardwalk Empire.

The main room is awash in crimson wallpaper, with antique baubles and chandeliers hanging from the glistening tin ceiling and framed female nudes capturing the sultry glamour of the prohibition days.

The vibe is often mellow – even on Fridays and Saturdays when patrons have to be at least twenty-five to get in – and the crowd tends to be a mixed bag of hip professionals and their trendy crew, while the rest of the week sees a healthy dose of college coeds dropping in, enticed by an atmosphere that’s a little more grown-up but still affordable.

A short staircase leads to a cluster of ornate upholstered chairs and a modest fireplace, while a nearby sliding bookcase allows access to a secret VIP room with its own bar.

The real novelty, however, is in the drinks, with beer bottles in brown paper bags and cocktails and wine doled out in large tea cups – a clandestine nod to the days when boozing came with a potential jail term.

Old and refined but decidedly cool, The Back Room is a party space that manages to be mature without being stodgy.

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Tip from Adriana:

On Mondays, The Back Room temporarily becomes known as Lucky’s Lounge. They bring in a live jazz band to play period favorites and require a password at the door. Go to The Back Room’s Facebook or Twitter page to find next Monday’s password.

  • Crowd

    Yuppies, trendy groups of girls, mature college kids, creative types, speakeasy fans, and in-the-know tourists, 20s to late 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live jazz M from 8pm. Rock-based music including an eclectic mix of alternative, indie, classic, funk, soul, dance, disco, and new wave. DJ Th–Sa from 9pm.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food. VIP room primarily reserved for friends of the owner or folks with a substantial budget ponying up for an open bar. Patrons must be twenty-five or older to enter F–Sa.

    The first Monday of every month hosts an interactive theater night and tickets are required for entry.

  • Prices

    Beer $6, wine $8, cocktails $8–$14.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Upscale casual to dressy: collared shirts, blazers, suits, designer jeans, little black dresses, flirty tops, heels. No real fur of any kind allowed.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights to shimmy with a twenty-five-plus clientele, or earlier in the week to avoid the laid back but large weekend crowds.

  • Close By

    Milk and Honey (134 Eldridge Street) is an intimate speakeasy for the sophisticated drinker, where mixologists customize beverages to fit patrons’ unique palates.

The Back Room User Reviews

Average rating:
A Time Machine with Tea Cups
Randall H. Jun 26, 2013
This was the first place I went out to when I moved to NYC, and I was not disappointed! The entrance is super sketchy, but once you get inside it's like a whole new world. High ceilings, oil paintings, and fabric covering the walls. There are couches and comfy seats upstairs, as well as a decent amount of room at the bar. You'll definitely meet some interesting people here if you strike up conversation. Cocktails are served in teacups and beers are served in red ceramic steins. This is because during prohibition, you didn't want anyone to know you were serving/drinking alcohol. It's $12-$14 for a cocktail, but they are delicious. Try the Hair of the Cat - an absinthe cocktail that will get you right! There's a "secret room" behind the book shelf in the back that's generally reserved for private events. The security guy in the back talked to me for a while about the history of the place and what kind of stuff usually happens in the back room (nothing exciting). He was a great guy, but the bartender was a bit pretentious. Oh well. The music was good, but it was too modern for my taste. I wanted the experience to be more retro. I asked the DJ if he had any jazz music, and he said no. I was surprised, but it wasn't that big of a deal. The lowdown - expensive drinks, but an awesome atmosphere. Good music and comfy seating. Not too loud, good for a date or drinks after work. A must see place for sure!
Hidden gem!
sarah j. Dec 28, 2012
I was out with my girlfriends one Saturday night and one of them suggested we go to Back Room Bar. I was a little skeptical at first. Looking back at my sister while we walked down stairs and through a dark, creepy tunnel. Back Room indeed! I was so pleasently surprised when we walked in! Totally down my alley (pun intended). Dim lighting, velvet couches and chairs. The waitresses in flapper dresses, bartenders looked like real gangsters. A real 20's prohibition vibe. I ordered a mixed cocktail that came in a teacup! How cute, right?! And the beers came in brown paper bags. It was and is definitely a fun night out with girlfriends!
Sketchy Entrance, Great Drinks
Risa C. Dec 11, 2012
If you're going here on a first date, and he starts leading you down an unmarked staircase into a dark alley way, you're either in for a big surprise being brought to the Back Room...or you're in for a big surprise and you should get your pepper spray ready. The back room has a real speakeasy feel (even more so than PDT for me) with the drinks being served in tea cups - you know, in case the Prohibition cops decide to show up or something. And accordingly the beers will be served in a brown paper bag. The decor inside is beautiful with a bar as soon as you walk in and then plush antique looking furniture on the upper level surrounding a fireplace. Personally I'd rather come on a weeknight when its easier to grab a spot in the upstairs area, but it's also a great place to meet over drinks on the weekends.
Sexy and Forbidden Hideaway with Good Drinks
Janet-Lee R. Sep 18, 2012
If you are looking to time travel back to the era of Prohibition, this speakeasy is the place to go. Don't be fooled by the gate reading "LES Toy Company," that will unlock a slightly spooky walk down an alley into a hidden Back Room. As you open the door you are instantly transported to by gone days (minus the modern dress) of the 1920's with cushy couches, an old phone booth and a wall filled with books that really leads to a private room. If beer is your drink of choice, be prepared to drink from a brown paper bag. Or if you fancy a cocktail, there are a delicious array of unique drinks to choose from and yes you will be drinking them from an oversized tea cup. This a great date spot or place to catch up with friends into the wee hours of the night sipping on your "tea" with a kick that is. :)
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