Go to the East Village in New York City. Find the hotdog-shaped sign that says, “Eat Me” and duck into the Crif Dogs hotdog shop, a popular neighborhood take-out. Find the telephone booth. Pick up the phone and dial. Those are enough clues for you to find what is perhaps NYC’s quintessential secret bar.
Once you’re admitted to the velvet darkness of the clubby inner sanctum, the only illumination to guide you (until your eyes adjust) is the enchanting glow of the bottles on the back bar – at least then you know you’re in a place where fine cocktails are the main focus. Opened in 2007 by genius mixologist Jim Meehan, word of PDT’s quirky concept and sumptuous cocktails, like the Benton’s Old Fashioned made with bacon-infused bourbon and the Mezcal Mule, spread worldwide.
Hungry? The bartender can order up a deep-fried hot dog (yes, a crispy, deep-fried hotdog) or basket of caviar tater tots for you through a secret window to Crif’s kitchen.
If you don’t have reservations, the hostess will probably ask for your phone number and call you back when there’s an opening. No matter, you can chill with a few rounds at the Donkey Kong table inside Crif Dogs and enjoy watching other clueless merrymakers come in, looking for the entrance to PDT.
113 St. Marks Pl., New York, NY 10009