Yet another speakeasy, complete with secret entrance, slamming cocktails and celebrity mixologist. Should we care?
The charming little coffee shop that acts as a faux front for pseudo-speakeasy Bathtub Gin in Chelsea does a great job at being believable. It's so believable that the family perched at the small counter nibbling on baked goods nearly fell off their chairs when the back wall miraculously opened up and a head poked out from the darkness beyond. Behind that door is where the real action takes place. The creative force behind Bathtub Gin is Sean Muldoon, known in cocktailing circles as the visionary behind the wildly acclaimed The Bar at The Merchant Hotel, in Belfast. At this secretive jazz and cocktail den, he has partnered with Peter Poulakakos of Harry's Café and Steak; Harry’s chef, Joe Mallol; and nightlife vet Dave Oz. Secretive? Sure. But the speakeasy model has fast become ubiquitous. Is it overkill? We venture behind the wall to find out. —Chantal Martineau; photos by Noah Fecks