Reminiscent of its speakeasy past, this bar still retains an air of exclusivity, and although there’s no need to whisper passwords to a pair of dodgy eyes through a slot to enter, you do have to get by a large bouncer (who’s quite nice, actually) in order to wander down the dark stairway, through the black door, and into this brick haven aglow with bountiful white candles and strategic spotlighting. You’ll instantly notice that although the three-month-old Noho locale (which is named after gossip columnist Walter Winchell’s table at the elite Stork Club during the ’20s) has all the fixins to be an obnoxiously chichi glam fest—there are table reservations, bottles on sale for $300 and higher, and expensive cocktails (best bets are the whiskey-laden manhattan or a fruity Blackberry50, $11 each, plus tax!)—somehow, it manages to be the contrary. The crowd is occasionally hip, but mostly of the casual set, and top-notch DJs spin everything from ethereal techno to soul weekly (their schedule has been so good, APT may want to watch out). And if you want to get all nostalgic and do the Charleston in the middle of the floor, you can, ’cause they have a cabaret license, to boot! Yep, it’s all by the book here, no bathtub gin needed.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 13, 2004