Tarantula juice, monkey rum, panther sweat…These code words for alcohol beverages were used during the prohibition in the speakeasies to fool the law officials and government! We don’t have the prohibition anymore and Al capone and his gang are long gone. But we still have some hidden establishments to spice up the outings.
Attaboy is an amazing speakeasy in Manhattan for cocktail lovers. Knowing that this bar was ranked 11th on the list of the 50 best bars in the world, I was expecting something more trendy and somewhat inaccessible. But instead I found a very casual and laid back place.
A “Taylors and Alterations” sign on a shop window, a wooden panel blocking the interior view and a simple grey flat door are all you will notice when standing in front of Attaboy. You may even miss the entrance, which says AB 134 on the outside with an inconspicuous doorbell. It’s kind of exciting to ring the bell and wait for the door to open.
A very casual guy opens the door and asks for the IDs. Not mine of course, unfortunately I’m way above the age limit. The place is very small with limited seating. They don’t overcrowd it so people usually have to wait outside. But the cool thing is that they take your phone number and call you when it’s your turn, because they specifically do not want you to wait in a line outside of the building, adding to the mystery of the place. In any case, don’t bring a large group or they won’t let you in.
At the entrance there is a bar where the bartender prepares cocktails. The place is narrow, looks like a train, and there are a few booths on the left wall. The light is muted and the atmosphere is very cozy.
The music is from the 70’s and early 80’s. Some will tell you it’s the best music of all time. You hear Supertramp, Genesis, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd… Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy who are the owners and bartenders seem to come right out of these songs.
The service is very pleasant. You don’t wait much before Sam (or Michael) is at your table. There is no menu, so if you don’t have a precise idea of what you want, the bartender talks to you about what you like and don’t like, what you’re in the mood for, etc. Later he comes with a wonderful cocktail designed specifically for you. My son knew exactly what he wanted and ordered a Gin Gin Mule; I let the bartender surprise me and he came back with a great cocktail that didn’t have a name – or maybe I forgot after 2 cocktails!
I was not allowed by my boys to take any pictures, so I took this one quickly. You can see it’s a bit fuzzy. Was it due to my camera or my 3rd cocktail, I don’t remember!
You tell them what you want, whether it is a flavor or liquor (NO VODKA!) and they come back with a different, unique, and delicious drink every single time.
All cocktails are $17, which is not cheap but worth it.
Attaboy was by far my best bar experience. These guys know how to make cocktails. They are professionals and very innovative.
Let me know how your experience was! Hopefully great like mine!
134 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002