113 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY | Directions 1000940.727115 -73.983717
Neighborhoods: East Village, Downtown
Is it worth the wait? For the drinks, perhaps not, now that you can get an equally lovely, inventive cocktail many places in the East Village. But for the warm, relaxed, civilized atmosphere, not-deafening sound level, and supercomfortable seats combined with the delicious cocktails, yes, PDT is worth every minute spent waiting outside that phone booth. Note the very unique and/or exclusive bottles on the bar and try some new things. Bartenders are professionals here.
The house cocktails are world class at this most elaborately secretive of all New York speakeasies. But I go there to have perfect Manhattans, Sazeracs, and Vieux Carre's.
Worst Cocktail Experience Ever – AVOID – First off, the reservation system works perfectly, the girl on the phone & later at the door could not have been more friendly and helpful. The problem comes after you’re seated.
I should preface this by saying that I’ve been here at least 10 times over the last couple of years, and it was always a wonderful place to take out-of-town guests looking for a unique experience ($14 cocktails – all heavenly - $6 hot dogs, but some of the best/most –creative in the city, and tater tots and waffle fries with cheese?! Heaven!) However, it recently went all very wrong, very embarrassingly, and I’ll never ever return here again.
The waiter, clearly hired for his looks rather than his personality, was completely out of order. To begin with, he actually snickered at one of our groups menu cocktail selection, which made her feel terribly self-conscious and uncool – in fact, the waiter seemed to go intentionally out of his way to make our entire group of four feel completely unwelcome. Thankfully 2 of us were from out of town, and weren’t immediately aware of what was going on. But I caught on, fast, and was mortified at what was about to occur.
First off, when we ordered a hot dog off the Crif-menu, never a problem in the past(?), we were completely sneered at. Note to server: it’s strange enough ordering a bacon-wrapped hot dog with a cocktail in a windowless dark den adorned with mostly stuffed dead animals across the walls – being rude about it doesn’t make it any easier.
Next up, the subject of ordering ‘off the menu’. The cocktail menu at PDT is just heaven, and an absolute work of art. If you’re serious about cocktails, you can very much appreciate the art and skill at work here. All that said, there also used to be the ability to simply tell your server that you were interested in something, like something, and let the skilled mixologist create it for you. Once, I took a film producer in here who wanted a “bourbon-based” & “mildly-sweet” cocktail – and when it came, it was like nothing on earth, he said. That was always one of the nicest things about the place. So….
On the second round of cocktails, a gentleman from London asks for a “champagne-based” & “fruit-type” cocktail. “Like a Bellini?” the waiter suggests. “Yes, exactly, that would be perfect.” Waiter then says, “I’m afraid we can’t do that as we have no peach purée.” Okay…. Then how about substituting that with either Pomegranate (on their menu) or Passionfruit (also on their menu)? London-customer perks up, but waiter says, “Absolutely not. They will not make that for you.” Period, that’s it. I was completely shocked. So, I calmly looked at him and said, “You have Passionfruit and Champagne, but we cannot have a Passionfruit Champagne Cocktail?” And he simply said, “No, they won’t do it.” Now, I have no idea who the current mixologists are there at the moment, or if Jim Meehan’s still involved in what goes on here, but I was completely shocked that the waiter wouldn’t even ASK the bartender if what the customer asked for specifically was even an option. Just a complete shut down, with no explanation, so we had no choice but to leave immediately. Waiter did not seem to mind one bit. A deeply, deeply embarrassing experience.
In the bathrooms, there’s a list of house rules for the place (i.e. no hitting on strangers, no talking too loudly, etc., etc.) –all good rules. Especially the first rule: Treat others as you would expect to be treated here. The waiter we had clearly needs to read this one over and over again, or try another profession that doesn’t involve serving people in public. Terrible, sad embarrassing experience. STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST THIS PLACE.
Disappointed – A friend had call and made reservation to arrive at PDT at 8:30pm, because we wanted so badly to see what the fuss was about. But much to our disappointment upon arrival, the hostess said we weren't on the list and that we didn't call---even after we showed her the call log. We wouldn't have been so upset if she had step up and admitted that she made the mistake, they really need to fire that inefficient employee. That's ridiculous!
shhhhh! – PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell) is a snug and small speakeasy style bar, complete with a secret entrance through a yummy hot dog joint called Criff Dogs. (look for a door to your left with an intercom type phone). Fancy cocktails and cute idea. However, a lot of people agree that the climax is the entrance (shhh, PDT). If you want to go, you need to make reservations at 3 pm – when the start taking them. If you wait till 4 you might not get one.
cocktail: Corpse Reviver #2 – Cointreau, Lillet, lemon juice, and absinthe
read more at my bar blog:
Great cocktails but freeking impossible to get in!!! – Even when you call right at 3PM, it is busy every time you redial for about an hour, until at which point it finally does ring and the girl on the other end informs you they are fully booked for the night!!! What BS!
What point is it having a "secret" bar that everyone knows about??? They shouldn't be listed in places like City Search, and they shouldn't have a website or any other kind of advertizing either. It should be simply word of mouth. They didn't have the internet back in the prohibition years you know!!!!
Basically to get in to this place you have to be ridiculuously lucky, or go in the afternoon during the week. I'm actualy not sure if its worth it.
Hidden Gem is a great spot. – WOW...this is a fun place. Its great to see your guests faces when they see you enter through the phone booth. Drinks are great if you want to try something you have never seen before. The bacon cheese burger is sooooo good. Make sure to make a reservation and be on time. Dont tell to many people...lets keep this place hidden!
Too Much Attitude – Life is too short and this city is way too large for a doorkeep to have as much attitude as this girl did.
No where does this place say you NEED reservations, so my suggestion is that they publish that fact at least somewhere - even on their website. (note on CitySearch - this is the ONLY place that does mention reservations, so thank you) The website says for reservations call...not reservations necessary or even recommended. And I wasn't even there on a weekend night.
I have been in the industry a long time and I get so tired of pretentious people running a door, buying wine, cooking food, etc. There is absolutely no need for that. Food and beverages are supposed to be fun, not exclusive and snooty. As for fabulous cocktails, I will take my business back to Pegu Club or Little Branch. They are much nicer and infinitely less pretentious.
Coolest place for cool people – If your a hyper neurotic spoiled New Yorker then you better not go here because you will be shown the door.Thank god for PDT a real New York place...Biker Billy
Worst place ever!!! – If they were half as cool as they think they are there, this place would be awesome! The host who seated our whole crowd (in two groups as we arrived) then informed us we couldn't speak to each other! Excuse me? There were literally only 2 other couples in the place on the Sunday night that we came. Meanwhile, the host gave us so much attitude that he actually asked one woman in our group to "step outside" and he would explain their policies to her. It was the biggest joke ever. We left and took the money we would have spent elsewhere. I'm pretty sure they didn't break even on their wannabe cute bartenders that night!
VERY COOL. – Points for the very cool hidden entrance. Again, this is a place you go to CHILL on a first date, or with some close friends. If you have out of town guest, they'll love it. You probably won't talk to other patrons, so don't go alone and don't go to pick up. I ordered a MANHATTEN and it was perfect; Sinatra would have loved it. Another cool aspect is the ICE; its one HUGE perfect cube (specialty made) that perfects the temp of the drink/cocktail. I had a dog too and it was good. If you can't afford a $12 drink, and you want to get 'wasted'...don't bother. Its upscale. The Prohibition/taxidermy decor mixed with the red brick wall & dark ambience was perfect. Check it out and DON'T be late with your reservation.
Great Atmosphere – I hate to write about this because I don't want it to get crowded.
But if you really like bourbons, whiskey's, etc, this is a fantastic place. This really isn't a bar. Don't go here to get loaded, it is more like a lounge where you go to taste the smokeyness of the liquor on your tongue and talk, while enjoying the atmosphere.
Drinks are priced as such.
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