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Published August 29, 2012

The Love Below
If the 1920s Were a Village Cocktail Bar

And now, a brief scene from your next cocktail-bar decision.

Someone else: “Where should we go?”

You: “I think I’d like to go somewhere where Fitzgerald, Prince and the Monopoly Man would all feel comfortable.”

Someone else: “Wow, that’s really specific.”

And scene...

The place you described is Tomoka, a pleasantly ostentatious underground portal into Prohibition-era cocktail loungery, quietly opening tomorrow and taking large reservations now.

This is basically the physical manifestation of The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. A subterranean enclave of crushed velvet, tufted sofas, purple walls and studded bar stools. Oh yeah, and drinks. A combination of off-the-cuff bespoke concoctions and the six basic cocktails to propel the kinds of discussions you have when touching crushed velvet.

Like all valiant attempts at modern speakeasiness, it’s got a clever cover—an entire restaurant sitting above it, called McCoy. Oysters. Sidewalk seating. Its own bar. It’s either an outstanding display of commitment to the ruse, or an actual, functioning restaurant.

Anyway, to get down to Tomoka, you need one of two things—option one: a reservation. Or, if that’s too easy, just whisper to the hostess upstairs, “Zelda’s fallen off the wagon.” Kidding. Just ask if they’ve got room. Either way, you’ll be led back through the kitchen and down a flight of stairs, where you’ll emerge into the aforementioned Jazz Age paradise.

Which reminds us, there’s jazz.
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Photo: Oleg March