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88 Impressive

The faux speakeasy that launched a thousand imitators.

8 Stuyvesant St., New York, NY, 10003


Known For

The lowdown

It’s tough to find this elegant drink parlor — arguably the city’s first neo-speakeasy (since 1993!) — tucked away inside a second-story Japanese restaurant. And even tougher to get a seat once you do: It’s a no-standing room where only groups of four or fewer will be seated, a rule that is strictly (to put it mildly) enforced. But once you’re in, you’ll appreciate the draconian attitude. Stare out the big window (preferably during a snowstorm) while enjoying an exotic plum wine. Or the best martini in the city. Order it with a twist. A sliver of lemon peel is misted into the air; the oil gently drapes over the drink’s surface. The peel is then discarded, instead of plopped into the drink, so it won’t disrupt the stillness. You can ask for a tiny glass of olives on the side. The generally inventive menu features Japanese-style drinks like the Eastern Gibson (Ao Japanese rice vodka, junmai daiginjo rakkyo, and thinly sliced cucumber) and creative spins on classics like the Shiso Julep (Hakushu 12-year, shiso, wasanbon sugar, and water).

What you need to know

Recommended DishesMartini; Eastern Gisbon; Shiso Julep.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized