Eat and Drink in New York (I) – 21 Club

Eat and Drink in New York (I) – 21 Club

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Eat-and-Drink-in-New-York-I-300x180 Eat and Drink in New York (I) - 21 Club

Eat and Drink in New York: 21 Club – Historic High Class Libations

 

B/D/F/M to 47-50 St-Rockefeller Center, Eto 5 Av-53St

 

When it comes to speakeasies, 21 Club was in a class by itself. This townhouse today stands out among the office buildings, but during Prohibition almost 40 other illicit watering holes shared the same block.

 

Named for its address on 52nd Street, 21 always had the best food, liquor and wine of any speakeasy. It attracted tycoons, politicians, artists, writers and actors. Humphrey Bogart was a regular, Ernest Hemingway drank here and mayor Jimmy Walker had his own booth in the super secret wine cellar.

 

Alcohol was also served upstairs with ingenious contraptions to quickly dispose of evidence when raided by Federal agents. Authorities once spent 12 hours looking for booze, but could only find teasing remnants of broken bottles. (It helped that local police drank here and warned the club in advance.)

 

Eat and Drink in New York: 21 Club – Historic High Class Libations

 

After Prohibition ended, 21 continued to attract the city’s elite. Once a stuffy club for suits and starched shirts, 21 has loosened up a bit. Ties are no longer required and Bar 21 is business casual.

 

Iron gates from 1926 guard an entrance decorated with jockey statues donated by racing stables. Step inside and you’ll come to Bar 21, a fine spot for cocktails and appetizers.

 

The true 21 experience, however, is eating in the wood paneled Bar Room. Jackets are required for men, which seems at odds with the toys suspended from the ceiling — memorabilia donated by politicians and sports stars. You’re sure to be in good company. A floor plan online notes the favorite tables of celebrity patrons. Lunch is served Tue-Fri noon-2:30pm and dinner Mon-Sat 5:30-10pm.

 

For more privacy, Upstairs at 21 has an assortment of stately rooms where jackets are also required. Dinner only, Tue-Sat 5:30-10pm.

 

Eat and Drink in New York: 21 Club – Historic High Class Libations

 

Finally, hidden away in the basement is a spectacular Wine Cellar accessed via a small door hidden in a brick wall below the kitchen. It’s available for private groups only.

 

To keep expenses down, try 21’s pre-theater menu for $42 that’s available before 6:30pm. Reservations booked through the restaurant from July-Sept come with a free cocktail or glass of wine (see special offers).

 

Tips: No jeans or sneakers. Jackets required for men in the Bar Room and Upstairs at 21.