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A Historic Cocktail Speakeasy Sneaks Into Midtown

Gibson & Luce opened in the Life Hotel building this week

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Gibson & Luce
Gibson & Luce’s bar
Photo by Noah Fecks via Gibson & Luce

Midtown now has a new cocktail speakeasy — this time from once-prolific NYC restaurateur Stephen Hanson.

Hanson, who founded hospitality behemoth BR Guest before leaving in 2013, rejoined the restaurant business last month with Henry at Life Hotel, and this week, he added a bar called Gibson & Luce to the hotel’s mix at 19 West 31st St., between Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

Gibson & Luce is run by the same chef as Henry, BR Guest alum Michael Vignola. Here, he makes bar snacks like goose fat potato knishes with caviar and creme fraiche; pizza bianca with black pepper ricotta, potato, and egg; and merguez meatball pizza with chili-roasted tomato and goat cheese. A burger is also available, topped with caramelized onions, American cheese, bacon, and an option to add foie gras.

Drink-wise, the menu has cocktails, beer, wine, and lots and lots of vermouth. Cocktails include the Little White Lie (spiced rum, creme de violette, cream, lemon, laphroaig), Their First Quarrel (ginger, apricot eau de vie, amara blood orange liquor, lemon, egg white), and 1894 (blue gin, dolin dry, orange bitters). See the full menu below.

The historic hotel once housed the headquarters for Life magazine. Gibson & Luce is named for former editor Charles Dana Gibson and publisher Henry R. Luce; it’s rumored that the bar was once a secret place for staffers to party. Now, the bar can be accessed via a hidden staircase behind the elevator bank near Henry, or eventually, via the street with an access code that will likely be shared on Instagram.

Hanson is known for producing crowd-pleasing restaurants that will bring back neighborhood regulars, and he has said that’s his goal with the Life Hotel, too, which he’s a partner in. Gibson & Luce is open from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Gibson + Luce

, Manhattan, NY 10001 (212) 615-9910 Visit Website