The hidden corner of Serge Becker's empire has its own hidden corner, although you probably don't know about it unless you made a wrong turn on your way to the bathroom. Peeling walls and exposed floorboards clash with a sleek liquor cabinet and a lush sound system to make this the coolest boiler room in Soho. You won't find a better $45 prix fixe, a better bring-your-own-wine spot (there's a $30 cork fee) or a more intimate place to tuck into some bratwurst.
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Holiday Party Spots
We heard about what happened to your holiday party. So we've dug up five little under-the-radar spots where you can get merry on your own terms, from catacombs in Chinatown to the biggest dinner table south of14th St. You deserve this. Happy holidays...
Underneath this rustic Italian spot (and past the downstairs bar), you'll find three rooms of candle-lit catacombs filled with ancient brick, bare beams and the warmth of fire and wine: perfect for your winter solstice bacchanal. We suggest bringing in some smoked mozzarella, some Montepulciano and 40 friends to take care of both.
You've sat in the indoor "patio" at this sceney Bowery restaurant, but a staircase in the middle of the fray takes you down to a low-key oasis of Arabic arches, rosewood columns and the longest private dinner table we've seen outside of Kill Bill. The main draw here is the kitchen—particularly the Tandoori Foie Gras—but the jam cocktails (yes, made with spreadable fruit) should convince you to stick around past dessert...
Sasha Petraske's basement speakeasy has everything you'd want for a night of sophisticated, cocktail-fueled euphoria—expert mixologists, paneled wood and a well-managed dimmer switch—but duck past the curtain and up the stairs (back to ground level) for a secret floor that's managed to stay under the radar for the more than three years LB has been open. Keep the group small for this one and make the most of having your own private bartender. (In other words, no martinis allowed.)
You've probably seen the glass-topped "garden" at this sunny Nolita scene magnet, but we bet you didn't notice a sliding panel in the timber-lined hallway that rolls back to reveal the bistro's secret weapon: a banquette-lined "minibar" with hotel room-sized bottles covering the walls, a full-sized bar to itself and a private entrance that will let you dodge the crowds upstairs...unless of course you prefer to be seen.