As has been mentioned before, we are entering, if not fully in, a golden age of the cocktail. This golden age started with Dale Degroff at the Rainbow Room and has led to a slew of establishments opening up all around the world that celebrate the craft of the cocktail.
That being said, the concept of the “speakeasy” style for these places is completely overdone. Many fine cocktail establishments have proceeded to hide their entrances as to put a mystique behind those hidden doors. This was great for the first few who did this, but now EVERYONE is doing it!
I understand the analogy of “it’s not what the bottle looks like, it’s what’s inside that counts.” Still, the phenomenon of the hidden or discreet location is cliche.
When I went to New York City I visited establishments such as Death & Co., PDT, Little Branch, and Employees Only. Of those, Employees Only was the only one that didn’t have a hidden entrance. And, of note, the cult of the mustache and the matching tattoos there kinda freaked me out.
As for the first three mentioned, each of their exteriors were stark, hidden, or camouflaged. BUT, once I got in, the drinks were amazing and the staff showed amazing hospitality. I understand that those last two items ARE the most important, but the process to get to those last two items seems unnecessary.
At Treason and Plot we will have none of that hidden entrance hullabaloo. We will be a bar for everyone. We won’t be doing craft cocktails. We will do cocktails RIGHT. We will do wines RIGHT. We will do food RIGHT. We want everyone to feel welcome when they walk through open doors. We want people to come because it feels great to sit at the bar at Treason and Plot. We will welcome with open arms the person who orders a vodka and soda, or the person who orders a Vieux Carre, or the person who orders the ’82 Bordeaux, or the person who orders a High Life. It doesn’t matter what you order because we will greet you with a smile and a handshake. We want you to feel at ease and have a great level of comfortability. We want you to come because you had a great time when you last visited. We want you to bring your out-of-town guests because you want to show them what a bar should be.
In the end it’s not about the packaging, but what’s inside. Still, an open door is better than a hidden door.