New York’s newest speakeasy looks much like any other local speakeasy: It’s got candle-lit tables, velvet banquettes, distressed leather armchairs, and brass accents throughout. But J.Bespoke, a new bar from two Gerber Group alum, features rows of televisions on either side of the space and a projection screen behind the bar — making it possibly the city’s first speakeasy that also doubles as a sports bar.
It’s the first venture from brothers Jesse and Eric Jacobs, who previously managed various bars for sceney cocktail purveyors the Gerber Group. Visitors can access J.Bespoke through an unmarked brass door at the back of Columbian coffee company Devoción’s cascara (coffee cherry tea) and coffee bar, in Nomad, on East 27th Street, between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue.
The 50-seat speakeasy came about from a personal grouse for the brothers — the lack of an elegant space to enjoy high-end cocktails and a sports game at the same time, Eric tells Eater. They’ve been to countless sports bars over the years, he says, but were eventually turned off by the selection of drinks and the general loud and boisterous vibe.
At J.Bespoke, the row of TVs are embedded within the wood-paneled walls on either side of the space. The projection screen behind will be used during big sporting events like the Super Bowl.
When the screens aren’t streaming sports like the NBA Playoffs, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, or any of the events played by New York’s sports teams, they will showcase a rotating set of abstract art. Aside from major sporting events like the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals, the volumes on the television screens will be on mute at all times to allow bar-goers to feel like they’re still in a cocktail lounge.
“I think sometimes people feel intimidated by the idea of going to a speakeasy,” says Eric. “We wanted to create a space that feels different yet approachable at the same time.”
That approach translates to the cocktail menu as well, where familiar drinks are presented with just the slightest twist. The negroni replaces gin with tequila and is titled “tegroni,” while the old fashioned adds a spray of green chartreuse. The paloma adds a kick with a spicy tequila.
Similarly, the food isn’t quite chicken wings and pretzels but follows the familiar fried chicken, burgers, and pizza route. Items on the limited food menu include truffle fries, Japanese-style fried chicken bites, a Wagyu cheeseburger, and a margherita pizza. The prices accordingly reflect the upscale vibe; cocktails go for $17 and the pizza and burger are $26 each.
And if this one goes well, the brothers want to open multiple locations in the city, and then eventually elsewhere in the country. For now, they’re just focused on opening night.
J.Bespoke is open on Monday to Friday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.