Manhattan has yet another cocktail speakeasy, this time with personalized cocktails for everybody who enters. The 18th Room in Chelsea comes from Dave Oz, a co-owner of the gin-centric speakeasy Bathtub Gin, also in the neighborhood. Located at 134 Ninth Ave., between West 18th and 19th streets, The 18th Room’s name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which kicked off Prohibition.
The 18th Room fits 75 in its 1920s art deco-inspired space, filled with dark green banquettes and a mural of tropical plants. Jazz and swing covers of popular songs from the 1980s to today will play overhead.
There’s a bespoke element to the menu, with bar director Joseph Boroski coming up with drinks based on customers’ flavor and spirits preferences. When people enter the space, which has a faux coffee supply storefront, a host creates a profile for them with taste preferences that is then electronically sent to the bar team so that the custom cocktails can start coming together right away. Technically, any bartender worth their salt will create custom cocktails based on taste, and LES’s Attaboy specifically does bespoke cocktails, too, but The 18th Room makes it a more formal process.
People can skip all the bells and whistles of bespoke cocktails and order from a set menu of options, which includes drinks like the “Coffee, Stop,” made with vodka, Arabica coffee, wattle seed liqueur, and Stone Street espresso, as well as the “Un-Pulped Fiction,” made with coconut oil-washed rum, caramelized pineapple shrub, lime, orgeat, and macadamia nut.
As for food, a full menu is coming in a few weeks, but for now, The 18th Room is serving small plates like shellfish cocktails, chicken wings, and steak tartare. The speakeasy is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.