Gotham’s speakeasies have always been famous. Craft cocktails, leather sofas, dim lighting and hidden entryways set them apart from the norm, and make them a unique experience. Some are designed like their 1920’s ancestors, while others are simply modern bars with secret entrances. This fall, there will be yet another added to the city's list, and this one has history.
Chumley’s originally opened in 1922 as an actual speakeasy in the West Village. It was a popular hangout for some notable writers, such as E.E. Cummings and John Steinbeck, and remained a hot spot up until 2007 when a collapsed wall shut it down for good -- until now.
New owner Alessandro Borgognone has been navigating around some obstacles, but it looks like he will be opening Chumley’s on September 6th. A full renovation with new wallpaper, French-oak tables and leather banquettes will capture the atmosphere of the original Chumley’s, but with recognition of authors that used to frequent the hidden halls. There will be leatherbound books on display, and paintings of those such as Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds on the walls. The menu will also have an eclectic collection of cocktails from Atera alum Victoria Blamey, reinventing a number of classics.
The bar will keep the original heavy wooden front door, and there won’t be a sign advertising the entrance. If you’re looking to wet your whistle with the spirits (no pun intended) of some of literature’s most influential ladies and gentlemen, you’ll have to do some research and be in the know. Trust us, though, it will be well worth it. After all, Hemingway said that his only regret in life was not drinking more wine.