Friends in New York + a secret underground bar.
Up early this morning, I head to the airport to make the long trip to the other side of the country. Off to New York today, and it’s been a long day of travelling. I finally made it in, through snowy Chicago, and the sun came out just as I flew over Manhattan for a glorious welcome.
I am staying with a guy in midtown, just across from Madison Square Garden. I made it to his and immediately went out again, as I was meeting up with some friends from Melbourne at Cata down in Soho, where they have a G & T menu 24 variations deep.
We met for a few drinks and then head out to find some food – the only place still serving at midnight was a little taqueria, La Esquina, glowing bright in the snowy night on a street corner. We went in, ordered some tacos, and then looked around. There was a guy who looked like a bouncer in the back corner, and people dressed up to the nines were coming in and going through a staff only door. The guy I was staying with had told me about these prohibition style ‘speakeasys’, where there were hidden entrances to bars. There was something about this one, and the bouncer was messing around with us, but we were convinced it was a stripclub.
We got chatting to the bouncer who eventually offered for us to go downstairs for a drink. We must have seemed super weird, as we kept querying how much we would have to spend. When we got downstairs and realised it wasn’t a strip club, we felt pretty stupid as we had been asking ‘So we can go down there, and not spend any money right? We can just have a drink?’
There is evidently a two month waiting list for a table, and most tables were bought by celebrities and were set permanently for them to drop in at any point. He pointed out Beyonce’s table, and then DiCaprio’s – we were a little dubious but after reading reviews of the place we had stumbled into when we got home, it seemed feasible. And the place was filled with empty tables that stayed set and were then packed up, unused, at the end of the night. We had stumbled upon one of New York’s top hotspots by pure chance.
It was Mexican themed, and unfortunately had a no photo policy. But we got pictures of the unassuming outside when we left at least.
I took the subway back to midtown and head to bed to recharge for a day of pavement pounding tomorrow.