Sunday, 17 November 2013

NYC: Speakeasy | Shhh! Please Don't Tell!

The Shark and the Mezcal Mule at PDT, NYC
Please Don't Tell, or PDT to those in the 'know' is one of New York City's most infamous speakeasies. So infamous that reservations are practically non-existent.  In fact my roommate tried relentlessly for months, to no avail.  I somehow miraculously managed to bag myself a table for two on my first try and so here's an account as to how you can succeed too, why you should succeed and just what you should drink during your success. #Winning.

Speakeasies are very much 'the thing' right now in US cities and especially in NYC. For those unfamiliar with the term, here's a history lesson folks!

During the prohibition era, selling, making and distributing alcohol was illegal in the US, I couldn't even bear to imagine that being the case these days, and so secret bars would crop up, serving locals the forbidden fruit, with the hope that they would never be caught.

Fast-forward 80 years after the prohibition era and no self-respecting individual would be caught in a bar if it weren't a speakeasy.  They are so hip, happening and legal now that you have to hustle your way in (another speakeasy jaunt required a code word...but that stories for another day kids.)

You can only make a reservation at PDT on the day of your proposed visit, so forward-planning is not advised.  The booking line opens at 3pm and I encourage you wholeheartedly to be finger, thumb and cell ready as soon as the little hand reaches the 3 and the big hand the 12. If you want to spend months trying to get in to this hot spot then please do as my aforementioned roommate did, leave it a few minutes between calls in hope that it won't be engaged, finish your spreadsheet, make yourself a coffee, attend that meeting.  I'm sure August 2014 would be a lovely time to visit PDT.  If you want to get in today then follow my lead.

1. Hit call as soon as it hits 3pm.
2. As soon as you hear the busy tone, and you will hear the busy tone, hit the cancel call and repeat call immediately.
4. Repeat every time you hear the busy tone.
5. Tell your manager you are on an important conference call.
6. Make sure you are like a well oiled machine and that your speed of the above action plan improves on each call.
7. Die of caffeine dehydration at your desk. Your reservation legacy will live on amongst your friends.
8. Do not get distracted with work. This is New York City, you'll be chained to your desk until 10pm anyway, taking 5 now ain't gonna hurt!

If you execute the above strategy accurately you should get through within the first 7 minutes of the reservation line opening and essentially have your pick of times. If you do not get through within those 7 minutes, well there's always tomorrow and practice does make perfect.

Now let's not get this twisted, I had a great time at PDT but the kudos of me actually managing to get in, teamed with the initial entry of the venue are the two most exciting things about visiting this establishment. It's all about the hype people. I bought into the hype, I was hyped but after the initial hype I think I should warn you that you are eventually just in a bar with a great drink.  That's not to say I don't think this is worth the effort and here's why...

You've jumped out of the 9th street PATH station and hopped into a cab. You ask your cabby to drop you at St Mark's Place between 1st Ave and Avenue A.  You amble out and you're faced with an unassuming hot dog shop, Crif's to be precise.  You meander in and if you're as cool as the badass individual that managed to snag this reservation in the first place you'll know that you're to enter the random phone booth to the left.  Please note, only one of you can fit inside this phone booth, again meaning the excitement is already dwindled for the rest of the party.  If you're a full-fledged New Yorker then you'll be super-selfish and will make sure it's you that gets to go in. Check! If you made the reservation, I personally also think it's only fair and if anyone has anything to say about that direct them to this blog, show them what you went through and let them know that you were fired and escorted out of your building post-reservation.

You'll see a special note asking you to dial 1.  The other end of the line will eventually pick up and check that you indeed have a reservation.  If you don't have a reservation. Pa!

Suddenly the wall to the left of you will move and miraculously open, as if a door, and all of a sudden you and your party are in. You'll gaggle and giggle and be generally massively impressed for approximately 7 minutes (the time it should have taken you to get the reservation).  And then you're done.

With a small, intimate and cosy atmosphere it's perfect for this time of year and subsequently impressive date material fella's.  My sister and I dined on the Shark and the Mezcal Mule.  The Shark, a sea of creamy green goodness that had just the right mix of sweet and sour, whilst the juicy Mezcal Mule had hints of vegetable garden with a kick of spicy.  If you're hungry too then you're in luck.  PDT very cleverly offers a trusty hot dog menu from Crif's so you can order in, whilst out.

Please note: No jobs, including my own, were harmed in the research for this blog post.

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