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Home > Nightlife & Music > Bill's Gay Nineties

Bill's Gay Nineties

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

57 E. 54th St., New York, NY 10022 40.760248 -73.973075
nr. Madison Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-355-0243 Send to Phone

  • Reader Rating:

    9 out of 10


    3 Reviews | Write a Review

  • Scene: Live Music, Neighborhood Bar, Notable Beer Selection, Private Party Space
Photo by Shanna Ravindra

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Official Website

Nearby Subway Stops

E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.; 6 at 51st St.

Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa


This venue is closed.

On an otherwise nondescript block in Midtown, this former speakeasy provides buttoned-down 30-somethings with a miniature time-warp. Well worn silver dollars spell out "Bill's" on the tile floor in the narrow entryway; second floor walls are plastered with faded photographs of dancing girls from the 1890s. Continue into the main room, anchored by the same mahogany bar for over 80 years, and you’ll find yourself transported to an era during which the staff could pull a lever to drop the bottles into a sandpit, should some cop come strolling in. The posted Rules of This Tavern ("no boots in bed," "no more than five to a bed," etc.) may no longer apply, but you'll still feel like an outlaw drinking one of Bill's strong martinis as three house pianists—"Bugsy," Elliot, or Rick—take turns playing Billie Holiday tunes. Sometimes, you'll witness a slow-dance under the foggy glass ceiling lamps. "Psst," 45-year-veteran maitre d' Aldo whispers, pointing at one of the 35 tables. "Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio once sat in the corner." But a place like Bill’s has no need for celebrity. It never did.

Live Piano Music

Mon–Wed, 8pm; Thu–Sat, 8:30pm