Y’all know how much I heart me some [relatively] low-key, prohibitionist, revival type anti-hotspots, right? Well, Employees Only is just one such jewel, among an ever-growing NYC contingent, that’s been somewhat littered with “throwback” themed venues over the last 10 years. Honestly, many of them suck ass or slowly degenerate into suckery. E.O. hasn’t (yet) been terribly overrun with Porsche-loving, douchebag financiers, nor Staten Island Ed Hardy types, nor Jersey spiked-hair and lobster-tan dudes, nor plastic-faced Dix Hills L.I. rich bitches – thankfully. Likewise, nary have they deviated from their initial mission statement. Their raison d’être: atmosphere and vibe, combined with quality and trend-setting cocktails hasn’t suffered one bit since opening day. Those are just a few such reasons it remains popular with Hospitality industry employees.
I can’t put my finger on why exactly, but I’m huge fan of all things Speakeasy and Prohibition – peepholes, derbies, spats, suspenders, and paperboy hats. I’m sucker for dark, mysterious, low-key, unpopular, undiscovered and thus, sexy. I’m particularly in lust if they have a mechanical NCR register, in lieu of the now ubiquitous (and ghastly) touchscreen Point of Sale systems. Toss in some dim lighting, exposed brick, rustic copper ceilings, a hipster-approved 3-piece band with upright bass, aged Mahognay – and I’ll never, ever leave.
If you’ve noticed my Pub Crawl, you’ll see that most of my favorite haunts are somewhat befitting of those descriptions. If I could have chosen my birth, I probably would have selected a period somewhere between post-Civil War Reconstruction and the turn of the 20th century. Simplicity and authenticity were king. Massive opportunities were left and right for the taking. The Man pretty much let you do your thing as you pleased. I would have thrived with my “can-do” disposition.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a 3:00pm -4:00pm meal – smack dab between late lunch and dinner. Yeah. Not unusual barternder’s fare when after they’ve been on a drink pouring tear until 4:00am the night before. This is usually followed by an all day sleeping binge, neglecting essentials like – you know – daylight and contact with other human beings.
Only, today, my Dunch was a result of beginning of some exhaustive and intense training at my new bar in the MPD. I neglected to eat breakfast and had no chance to eat lunch. So, I headed East. Crazed and shaky from being simultaneously deprived of (1) much needed nourishment and (2) much needed hop and barley juice, I stopped by one of my old haunts – Old Town Bar on 18th Street between Broadway and Park Ave.