Shhh!: The Former Site of Lansky Lounge Has a New Hidden Tenant

Mugging for the camera
photo: Jennifer Snow/jensnow.com
Mugging for the camera

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The Back Room,
102 Norfolk Street,
212-228-5098
Much has already been made of this new Lower East Side speakeasy, which occupies the former site of Lansky Lounge. Yes, its hidden entrance is marked by a small, misleading sign for the Lower East Side Toy Company. Yes, there is a secret door in a bookcase that leads to a separate V.I.P. room. And yes, the celebrity owners (among them Tim Robbins) sometimes stop by. But while that might lead you to believe that the Back Room is a swank, velvet-rope establishment that slings overpriced drinks to a hipper-than-thou crowd, nothing could be further from the truth. The spacious, bi-level bar, which (unlike most spots in this neighborhood) is neither sleekly modern nor purposely divey, is decorated like an upscale hotel. The gold-and-crimson settees and armchairs are backed by like-colored fabric wallpaper, and the room is illuminated by crystal chandeliers. In a nod to Prohibition, wine ($8) and liquor ($6 for a well drink) are served in double-handled teacups, and beers ($6) arrive in surreptitious-looking brown paper bags. Don't let the classy decor or the fine-china mugs fool you, though. The music is loud, the dress is casual, and the crowd is frisky. So once you find this room, you'll definitely be back.
 
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