9 NYC Storefronts With Secret Identities

The secret life of NYC’s hidden speakeasies, clothing stores, and after-school tutoring programs.

1. Community 54

Location: 54 Clinton Street (Lower East Side)

It may appear to be an ordinary vintage video arcade…

…but walk through the fully functional photo booth ($3 per photo), and you enter into…

…a secret men’s street-wear store. There’s also an outdoor event space decorated by international graffiti artists that’s hosted acts like Soulja Boy.

2. Beauty & Essex Pawn Shop

Location: 146 Essex Street (Lower East Side)

Pawn shop in the front…

…swanky eatery (with a dress code!) in the back.

3. The Blind Barber

Location: 339 E 10th Street (East Village)

Walk through the old-fashioned barber shop in front to enter a speakeasy bar with drink names like “Sweeney Ted” and “Smoke & Dagger.”

4. Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

Location: 372 Fifth Avenue (Park Slope)

This Park Slope all-purpose superhero supply store has everything a caped crusader might need…

…including utility belts, grappling hooks, matter (and anti-matter!).

So what’s the secret? Well, there’s a hidden doorway behind one of the bookshelves that leads to Dave Eggers’s 826 NYC student literacy program, which provides one-on-one mentoring to under-resourced students ages 6-18.

5. Please Don’t Tell (PDT)

Location: 113 St. Mark’s Place (East Village)

In order too get into this reservations-only speakeasy bar, enter the phone booth in Crif Dogs (the hot dog place next door), pick up the phone, and press the buzzer once (and only once). A hostess answers and — if approved — the wall of the phone booth opens to let you into…

…a secret bar with taxidermied animals and trendy cocktails.

6. Employees Only

Location: 510 Hudson Street (West Village)

In case you needed another reason to think psychics were frauds, walk past the fortune teller in front and you’ll find yourself in…

…a hidden speakeasy bar with top-notch mixologists.

7. The Raines Law Room

Location: 48 W. 17th Street (Flatiron)

Ring the doorbell at the bottom of an unmarked stairwell to enter a classy bar where every table has a button to call on your server airplane-style.

8. The Back Room

Location: 102 Norfolk Street (Lower East Side)

There are no toys here, despite what the fake delivery side entrance door would have you believe. Instead, walk inside to find…

…a Prohibition-style speakeasy bar that serves cocktails in teacups and beer in paper bags. As for how to get into the back room of The Back Room, I have no idea…

9. Bathtub Gin

Location: 132 9th Avenue (Chelsea)

The Stone Street Coffee Company is actually a very real, fully functional coffee shop (with micro-roasted beans from Brooklyn), but walking through an unmarked door after hours leads you into…

…yet another trendy speakeasy cocktail lounge (and yes, there is a copper bathtub in the center of the bar!).

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