Tours in New York: Secret Spots (Part I)
One of the coolest things about traveling is when we get to know a place that just locals can find. In the days of Prohibition (1920-1933), a speakeasy was an illegal booze bar hidden in an unlikely spot behind a heavy door, its location – and often a secret password – known only to a select few.
Please, Don't Tell
By Lucas Compan, a guest storyteller
PDT (short for Please Don't Tell) is one such well-hidden gem. Although the address is on St. Marks Place (in the East Village), no matter how carefully you search, you won't find its front door. You enter through a hot dog joint – Crif Dogs – under an eye-catching wiener-shaped sign with "eat me" mustard-scrawled on it. Discreetly step inside a vintage telephone booth, follow instructions posted on the wall, then dial number 1 (one) on a rotary phone to reach the hostess.
A cool, intimate, cocktail lounge, PDT seats 45 patrons – no stands allowed – at an elegantly appointed rectangular gar and four oval booths.
Known for its innovative and unexpected cocktails. One of its most famous drinks is the Benton's Old Fashioned, a deceptively simple drink made from bourbon infused with bacon from famed producer Allan Benton, a bit of maple syrup, and little else. Click here to see how to learn how to prepare it with Don Lee, the drink's inventor.
If you crave a snack, order a Crif Dogs frankfurter with unexpected toppings like avocado, cream cheese, jalapenos, chili, bacon, pineapple, peanut butter. Add a side dish of waffle fries or ever-popular tater tots. Food is delivered via a small pass-thru at the mirrored back bar.
To ensure a warm welcome (and coveted seats), call ahead. Reservations are same-day only – the phone line is open from 3pm until they're fully booked. Weekend walk-ins should expect a lengthy wait: the hostess takes your name, then calls your mobile when seats become available. If you don't like to wait, get there at 6pm on a weekday night when it's usually less busy.