Gibson + Luce

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84 Very Good

This basement cocktail bar is in the Beaux-Arts home of the original Life magazine.

19 W. 31st St., New York, NY, 10001

http://lifehotel.com/

Known For

The lowdown

This basement cocktail bar is in the Beaux-Arts home of the original Life magazine and is named for its famed editors Henry Luce and Charles Dana Gibson (who lived upstairs); legend has it Life employees found boozy comfort here during Prohibition (during construction, a few bottles were found in the space). Nowadays customers are able to descend a spiral staircase from inside the hotel or, with one direct message to the bar’s Instagram account, you’re a VIP: the bearer of a secret code that grants you a stealthy entrance through a street-front door. The bar itself has plenty of odes to its namesakes’ preferences, including the flambéed cherries jubilee, which tops off an extensive menu that includes goose-fat potato knishes with caviar and crème fraîche, and hand-cut fettuccine with prosciutto-brisket. The cocktails nod to the past, too, many containing vermouth and amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur. Try the Banana Spliff (whiskey, banana liqueur, vermouth, chocolate bitter) or the shareable Black Chicken (bourbon, port, vermouth, amaro), which comes in a paper bag. The room is cozy and romantic, thanks to candles and retro-style light fixtures aimed at small pictures dotting the walls., keeping the focus on you and your companion. If you’re feeling particularly amorous, order the $150 Stay for the Night cocktail, which gets you a room upstairs in the boutique hotel to extend the night into the morning.

What you need to know

Recommended DishesMidori sour; banana spliff; “bucket of bubbles” to share.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized