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This Brooklyn Speakeasy Is a Total Mystery, Address and All

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Threesome Tollbooth is an enigma waiting to be discovered

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Pull up a chair for Eater story time, titled Threesome Tollbooth: A tale of a mysterious new speakeasy somewhere in the Williamsburg/Bushwick area, from performance artists known for creating a stir.

Except this two-person bar, open sporadically since February, has arrived without so much as a whisper — the only clear online traceability is exactly one Instagram post (above, and likely to be deleted shortly), a short thread on Reddit, and a mystifying FAQ on restaurant ticket vendor Tock.

Here’s what is known so far about this exclusive experience, in FAQ form, since that seems to be Threesome Tollbooth’s preferred style of communication. This has all been uncovered through Internet sleuthing, as the bar has not yet returned Eater’s request for comment:

Threesome Tollbooth
The logo
Threesome Tollbooth

Seriously, what is this?

At easiest explanation, it is just a private bar — a true speakeasy, one with no published address and access only upon consent. A not-so-easy explanation is that it is likely a performance piece.

The name may be inspired by British poet John Donne: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the booth tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Who is behind it?

A man named N.D. Austin appears to be the driving force. Austin is the guy who piloted The Night Heron, that speakeasy in a Chelsea water tower that drew attention in 2013. To refresh memories, it was “a decidedly illegal nightclub run by a group of adventure-minded artists” the Times wrote at the time.

Leading the artist pack was Austin, who with Ida C. Benedetto formed Sextantworks, a now-defunct group that “created experiences in places you aren’t supposed to be.” Here is a longer, fascinating look into the group’s intriguing escapades, which always seem to combine the elements of surprise and delight, all in the name of art.

Now, Threesome Tollbooth is Austin’s latest project — it is unclear if Benedetto is involved — as an iteration of Night Heron, according to immersive performance website No Proscenium. “Unique locations, exquisite concoctions, immersive experiences. The Night Heron uses the form of the speakeasy to create singular, ephemeral worlds,” the Threesome Tollbooth listing says.

So what happens here?

This is the murkiest part. It seems to be a pretty straightforward, custom cocktail tasting from one bartender for two guests that lasts for approximately 90 minutes. Though there are mentions of it here and there on immersive performance websites, details about the experience itself are very sparse.

The one person who posted publicly about the experience called it “super excellent, unique, personalized, intimate.” There is no concrete information by design — Threesome Tollbooth asks guests to refrain from social media or online commentary.

What the bar will say on its FAQ is that there will “likely” not be bubbles, foams, or spheres — but a Robert Frost poem indicates that fire is probable. Tuxedos and cocktail dresses are as welcome as “whatever giant onesie is saving you from ruin at present.” Questions are encouraged.

How can one go?

One can’t go — but two can. There is room for two people at a time, max. The FAQ states, “Threesome Tollbooth is a bar the size of a tollbooth that holds three people -- one bartender and two guests ... We have room for only you and someone with whom you are very comfortable. Are you sure that your companion is up for small spaces? (Specifically: if you can fit in an airplane seat, you can fit in our booth.)”

How much is it?

Pricing is variable, but starts at $100 per person for an early or late seating time, up to $120 per person for prime time. The non-refundable tickets, sold on Tock, include gratuity.

Where is it?

Your guess is as good as mine. Start by trying to identify the location of this alleyway, which apparently leads to “a makeshift bar which is actually a broom closet.” According to a bare listing on Foursquare, it might actually be in a private home.

Why?

Why not? In a shadowy, whispery world where Vespertine exists, anything can.

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