Employees Only hides under a green canopy and behind a facade revealing only a psychic and her tarot cards. But step through the red curtains and the Prohibition-era vibe of Hudson’s secret speakeasy comes alive. Rich wood paneling envelops an expansive bar area punctuated by a shiny mantel, a working fireplace, and a display of modern art. At the sleek bar, a fashionable crowd sips colorful cocktails. The Provençal features home-brewed “herbes de Provence dry vermouth” and “lavender-infused Plymouth gin.” A Ruby Tuesday ($12) is an icy concoction containing cherry puree and a cordial made by French monks. And the Martinez cocktail ($12), a predecessor to the martini, is seasoned with maraschino liquor and homemade absinthe bitters. The owners, moustachioed gents in suits and chef outfits—and veteran barkeeps in past lives—mix the drinks while Brazilian jazz and Euro guitar beat unobtrusively. In the skylit dining area, replete with glimmering hat racks for your Stetson, lanterns, and an alchemy display, even the tasty gravlax platter with infused Absolut ($13) reflects a commitment to fine liquor.
The name suggests exclusivity, but with open arms, this spot invites guests on a journey to a bygone era. Just keep this between us.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 1, 2005