Party Earth Review There’s little more than a neon PSYCHIC sign out front, but just past the clairvoyant reading cards and behind the curtained door awaits a hardly secret speakeasy called Employees Only. Dubbed one of the “50 Best Bars... ... read full review
510 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
1, 2, PATH: Christopher Street-Sheridan Sq / 7th Avenue; A, B, C, D, E, F, M: West 4th Street / 6th Avenue
Kitchen open until 3:30am
West Village, New York –
There’s little more than a neon PSYCHIC sign out front, but just past the clairvoyant reading cards and behind the curtained door awaits a hardly secret speakeasy called Employees Only.
Dubbed one of the “50 Best Bars in America” by Food & Wine in 2011, the venue’s 20s vibe is obvious, from the pressed-tin ceiling and rich mahogany walls to the collection of vintage art and the crackling steel-plated fireplace.
Handlebar-mustached mixologists behind the small curved bar continue the retro theme, their white coats stained by the arsenal of fresh fruits and tinctures incorporated into drinks like the gin shaken with homemade hibiscus and the chai-infused vermouth mixed with pomegranate.
Antique bottles line the shelves around the high-ceilinged dining room, where creative guys looking to impress their dates bite the bullet on the elk loin and trendy ladies pretend they aren’t going to lick the plates clean of those bacon-wrapped lamb chops.
The bar’s popularity promises a mixed bag when it comes to clientele, whether it’s cocktail connoisseurs and speakeasy purists or budding celebrity hounds hoping to spot co-owner Piper Perabo.
Often wall to wall by 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, the venue can be equally vibrant on Sundays thanks to a late-night burlesque show known to get a little rowdy.
Vibrating with energy, Employees Only is the kind of bar patrons wish they had all to themselves, which explains why they all seem to show up at once.
Artists, cocktail snobs, first dates looking to impress, scenesters, birthday groups, yuppies, and anti-yuppies, 20s to 40s.
Music is manned by the employees but usually falls on the side of rock, 80s, and funk.
Small but diverse menu of upscale plates like elk loin, bone marrow poppers, and oysters. Regular menu ends at midnight; smaller late-night menu served till close.
Appetizers and sides $7–$16, salads $11–$14, entrées $24–$45. Beer $8, wine $9–$15, cocktails $15–$16.
Creative casual to trendy: skinny jeans, artsy t-shirts, vintage plaid, casual cocktail dresses, Etsy attire.
The place can be packed any night, so those who equate quiet with romantic and are looking to bring a date will want to show up at the stroke of 6pm. Patrons in the mood for a packed house and a bit of a wait at the door will find both on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as potentially on Sundays for the free burlesque shows that start around midnight.
Little Branch (20 7th Avenue) is a bare-bones speakeasy from mixologist great Sasha Petraske and offers simpler but carefully crafted cocktails and frequent live jazz.