Style and Secrets at Please Don’t Tell
August 31, 2011
NEW YORK, USA – Choosing the right outfit for a night on the town is like a science to me. Much like the perfect cocktail, I like to shake up equal parts flavor, originality, and flair. So when a friend told me he was taking me to a speakeasy I thought: fringe dress? Perhaps a bit too much. Glossy wooden cigarette holder? Still not right. Leather t-strap heels? Maybe too formal. Sensing that Please Don’t Tell in the East Village is more downtown lounge than clubby saloon–meaning I needed a mix of classic details with a pop of fun–I went with a casual-cool black sundress and gold sandals instead.
Once I had concocted my look, I needed to crack the code of getting in–a process which requires just as much careful planning as getting appropriately gussied up. I know the idea of a hidden bar in New York isn’t exactly groundbreaking–these tucked-away boites have been the darling of the nightlife scene for quite some time now–but PDT is something special. While other bars merely reference the Roaring Twenties with kitsch and decor, PDT goes full-on with secret doorways and whispered passcodes. The only way to enter is through a phone booth located inside next-door neighbor Crif Dogs (a New York hot dog institution) and you must dial the correct number to get in. Even trickier, the number changes every three weeks and it took hours of blog-searching and friend-badgering before I finally got the digits.
Once inside, the hush-hush prohibition vibe felt authentic–crowded tables, exposed brick walls, even a bartender in suspenders–and my ensemble fit right in. The crowd was filled with girls in sundresses from Scoop and guys in black frame glasses, and the accessory du jour was a crafty cocktail. I ordered a mixture of tequila, crème de cacao, and framboise and my friend enjoyed an old-fashioned with bacon-infused bourbon. And just as I had crafted the perfect outfit, so did the bartender whip up the most heavenly of cocktails. The components of my drink were a smooth, perfect blend, and the flavored bourbon was a fun touch of whimsy.
As much as I enjoyed clinking our glasses and sipping with the rest of the air-kissing crowd, the best part of the night came on our way out. Tucked in with our bill was a small card made of thick black stock paper, etched with delicate, lacy red writing and featuring (drum-roll please) the coveted phone number. It was a subtle invitation, a discreet nod saying we were welcome back–the ultimate accessory for my next visit. I’ll certainly be returning to this swank den of secrecy, and next time I just might bright my t-strap heels.