If reports of NYC’s recent saturation of speakeasy-style bars have eluded you so far this year, you might also be surprised to learn that there are now two of these stylish drinking spots somewhat obscured in the subway system. Another intertwines 1980s Times Square vibes and sex shop aesthetics all under one roof. And another, an original speakeasy revival that was forced to close a couple of months ago, will pop-up in a Manhattan hotel this summer.
It doesn’t not make sense as a concept. It would be impossible to open a new dive bar as the august institutions occupying that category do so once they’re cloaked in a patina of dust that shimmers in the stray ray of sunlight, the perfume of cash and stickiness of indeterminate origin. Modern-day so-called speakeasies are an easier sell, as the commonly accepted qualifications seem to be a demonstrated effort to conceal, and design elements that veer more into theme than the era they are abstractly intended to evoke. Sometimes they’re secluded by nothing more than a curtain, others by flights of stairs recalling MC Escher.
Tea Moxy Times Square opened in 2017, quickly followed by Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge on the hotel’s 18th floor. The 10,000-square-foot space changes shape occasionally—it recently transformed from the après-ski-style Pink Winter Lodge to a somewhat similarly fashioned Sparkly Summer iteration—and entry to its adjacent Elephant Room has typically been limited to private parties, according to reps. Now, that space, rechristened The Hidden Gem, has been polished into a new point among the constellation of NYC’s latter-day speakeasy conceits.
Cloistered from Magic Hour’s skyline view outside, The Hidden Gem is past a double set of pink doors. A bouquet of disco balls is arranged overhead with more on tables at curved leather banquettes and on the bar, which is also appointed with blooms and greenery. Its lighting is appropriately dim and its lines are sleek, in contrast to the characteristically Instagrammable cocktails like the bright red Cloud Nine with prosecco, cotton candy and a glitter rim and the Sex Panther with rum, pineapple, punch, lime and coconut cream, served in a vessel that mirrors the fruit, and copiously garnished.
Both of those cocktails, and four more new additions, are available exclusively in The Hidden Gem, which is open Wednesday-Sunday from 3pm-12am.