It looks like a normal, East Village hot dog shop.
It smells like hot dog water, there are ketchup smears on the counters, and the air conditioning putts and struggles to evaporate the sweat off the back of customer's necks. But, across from the wall of faux-leather booths, there's the strange, out of place, telephone-booth-style set of doors with pitch black windows.
The booth has a phone hanging on the wall with a single, lone button: "Call."
The conversation is always the same:
"Your name?" followed by "How many?"
And then the back wall of the phone booth opens up, and the hostess you were just talking to on the phone says, "Welcome to Please Don't Tell."
A prohibition-style speakeasy bar with a maximum capacity of roughly 35 people, PDT is one of my favorite bars in the East Village. Aside from the secrecy and process of entry, the bar, aesthetically, is that of a backroom saloon: a dimly lit basement with a rich, dark, cherry-wood bar, illuminated by a glass counter-top and sparkling racks of liquor. The staff decks out in tight-fitting button up shirts with a vest, some with bow-ties; and either beige or red suspenders attached to slim-fitting, hiked-up knickers.
And the drinks are just as killer as the atmosphere. Mixologist Jim Meehan, who has been featured on the Travel Channel and the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, whipped up a menu of two-dozen or so mixed drinks, dropping and adding new recipes as the seasons change. All drinks are reasonably priced for Manhattan ($13), and the few beers they have on tap (including some rare Brooklyn Brewery beverages) are set at $7. On top of that, the entire hot dog menu from the other side of the wall is available.
Much more of a spectacle than a dive bar that you want to get wasted and make bad decisions in, PDT is the equivalent to caviar of the bar scene in New York City. And they make their motto clear on you're way out when they give you a pitch-black business card with simple, red lettering that reads, "Please Don't Tell."