Employees Only

New York

Employees Only was a classic from the moment it opened the doors in 2004. Two decades later, the art deco cocktail destination has lost none of the lustre – or popularity – that inspired a generation of imitators. Walking past the tarot card reader in the foyer, one emerges into a buzzing dinner club, teleported from the 1920s.

However, the real show is behind the bar. White-jacketed bartenders perform their work up high, free-pouring Golden Age cocktails with aplomb. Under the watchful eye of head bartender Frank Maldonado, the skilled team stirs up hundreds of the signature martinis and Manhattans synonymous with the location each day. An expanded menu offers options beyond the classics including EO’s refreshing Besos Calientes (tequila shaken with house-made grapefruit cordial, fresh lime juice and habanero bitters). Those preferring their spirits neat will discover a world-class list of rare whiskeys.

The food offerings are also classic, delivering dishes like a signature hand-cut steak tartare, oysters, bone marrow poppers, and an excellent ribeye. Insiders know that the classic EO snack is the off-menu ‘Sober Up Soup’ served gratis right before closing.