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“Employees Only”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American West Village Moderate Good

If you’ve ever worked for someone else—and I imagine most of us have—you are all too familiar with THE DREAM. You know—ditch it all, strike out on your own and do things your own way—better, smarter, and cooler. And so a group of the city’s best and sexiest cocktail movers and shakers—Billy Gilroy (Lucky Strike, Match, Match Uptown), Henry LaFargue (Pravda), Igor Hadzismajlovic (Park), Akiva Elstein (Schiller’s Liquor Bar), Jason Kosmas (Tavern on The Green, Pravda), and Dushan Zaric (Lot 61, Pravda, Schiller’s Liquor Bar)—decided to do exactly that.

With Employees Only, a swanky, deco liquor den, it’s not just the socialist mantra that should give you the warm and fuzzies. The cocktails, served from behind a lean stunner of a bar by the owners, who wear white chef’s coats and have impeccable manners, are among the most creative, delicious, and properly-made in the city—think Flatiron Lounge but owned by boys—and did I mention, very sexy boys?

Employees Only is easy to miss though. The owners have created a speak-easy sort of a place, with a live psychic stationed in the storefront, and little indication that anything lurks behind her other than maybe her family of baby psychics, a tea pot, a toaster oven, and several of the most recent editions of Psychics for Dummies. I walked by several times before I realized that I had found what I was looking for. Behind the demure dark-haired psychic in the window, you’ll find a room lit with an amber glow—a place that seems to have appeared from another time. One note of disappointment was the lack of men at the bar. While seven men own the place, the testosterone stops there. There were a slew of women at the bar outfitted in the uniform du jour—Citizens of Humanity jeans and flirty cleavage-prone frocks—but no men. And while I certainly appreciate beautiful women, I like to at least look at some hot men while drinking cocktails. Foreplay for the eyes—you know, holding someone’s stare for just a second or two too long—can provide for hours of enjoyment. And so I’d like to ask all you men reading The Strong Buzz—where are you drinking these days?

But I digress. At Employee’s Only, there’s more than the hip, if estrogen-heavy vibe. There’s a solid bistro menu from chef Jeremy Spector, a young lad (he’s not even 30, bless him), who&rsquo ... [more, click below]

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