The Back Room Bar

Address: 102 Norfolk Street, (btwn Delancey & Rivington Sts), New York, NY, 10002, United States
Tel: +1 212 228 5098
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Tue-Sat 7:30pm-4am
Style: Speakeasy
Recommended for: Historic interest
Price guide: Middling
Food: No food

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Review Words by Simon Difford on 2013-01-11

This is one of the few genuine New York Speakeasies to survive from Prohibition and although the original entrance through the back of a delicatessen on Delancey Street has long gone, the modern day entrance is also suitably concealed.

A gate in iron railings on Norfolk Street bearing the name "The Lower East Side Toy Company", marks Back Room's entrance. Beyond it, a dark, semi-subterranean passageway runs between buildings (watch out for the rats) and leads to a covered steel staircase, at the top of which is unmarked door complete with a brass peephole.

Although a wall makes the room around half the size it was in Prohibition days, once inside, the split level room is spacious and grandiose. The décor is reminiscent of a Victorian parlour complete with open fireplace, vintage furnishings, flock tapestry covered walls and chandeliers hanging from the tin ceiling. The eponymous Back Room is a very private VIP area hidden behind a false bookcase door but don't stress about gaining access, the main room has more atmosphere.

The drinks offering is somewhat restricted but in true Prohibition style, cocktails arrive in teacups, not glasses, and beer bottles are served in paper bags.

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