There’s more than just 459 feet that separate Charlotte’s Speakeasy from Cork & Kerry on Farmingdale’s Main Street. The bars have different menus, motivations and music on any given night.
Both businesses qualify as modern-day speakeasies in that they operate from a front. Speakeasies came to prominence during Prohibition as places where alcoholic beverages were illegally sold.
Here’s a deeper dive into the tale of one small town’s two buzz-worthy speakeasies:
OPENED IN: November 2017
HOURS: 7 p.m.-midnight Thursday, open until 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday
WHERE: 294 Main St., Farmingdale, 516-586-8530, charlottesspeakeasy.com
HOW TO FIND IT: Start in the frozen yogurt shop Charlotte’s Desserts and look for the door disguised as a bookshelf. You’ll need to give the bouncer a password to get down to the basement.
VELVET-ROPE FACTOR: No reservations and no baseball caps, hoodies or work boots
COVER CHARGE: $5 on Friday and Saturday nights
VIBE: Relaxed, but entertaining
BACK STORY: Co-owners Nick and John DeVito say the venue, named after their mother, housed a real speakeasy in the 1920s. The brothers say they’re relying on documentation from the village historian as well as oral history from Farmingdale officials, former owners and patrons to vouch for its origins as a women’s clothing store.
GO-TO DRINK: Among 12 signature cocktails: The Bourbon Peach Palmer (Bulleit Bourbon, apricot brandy, peach nectar, iced tea, lemonade, honey and sliced peach and lemon), Prohibition Fizz (Stoli raspberry vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, sweet and sour) and the New Old-Fashioned (Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey, chocolate whiskey, orange bitters and cherries). Each $12.
SPACE: About 40 seats with standing service and a backyard that can seat up to 150
DECOR: Very 1920s, with some of the original tin ceiling and wall coverings
CROWD: Initially conceived as a post-dinner destination for a more mature crowd; the owners say they’re seeing a mix of 20-somethings and people into their 60s.
MUSIC: Live jazz and swing music Thursday through Saturday
FOOD: Chicken and boneless wings ($13); sliders ($9); individual artisanal pizza ($11); grilled vegetable plate ($12); pommes frites ($6)
CORK & KERRY (C & K FARMINGDALE)
OPENED IN: Late February 2018
HOURS: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. daily, opening at 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
WHERE: 230 Main St., Farmingdale. No phone.
HOW TO FIND IT: There’s no exterior signage other than numbers indicating its address. The entryway is hidden behind a wall of doorknobs. Patrons are left to figure out which works to get behind the doors.
VELVET-ROPE FACTOR: Reservations recommended and can be made via Facebook, Instagram or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come in person, and you might be able to get a call back for same-day seating.
COVER CHARGE: No
VIBE: Low-key cocktail bar
BACK STORY: It’s the third location of a craft-cocktail chainlet run by Doug Brickel, Chris Corbett and Darren Fenton. The first Cork & Kerry opened in Floral Park in 2015, hidden behind a phone booth, Brickel says. The Rockville Centre location opened in 2016 and is set in a Victorian-style home that just as easily looks like a museum. The name derives from the counties in Ireland where Corbett’s grandmothers were born.
GO-TO DRINK: Among 36 signature cocktails: the Breakfast Old-Fashioned. “It’s a classic Old-Fashioned built with coffee-infused bourbon as well as maple syrup sweetener,” says Brickel, 32, a Bethpage resident who crafted the drink menus at all three locations. Another brunch-inspired cocktail that Brickel and the other bartenders make often is The Lucky Number 9, made from milk-washed gin, acid-adjusted orange juice, orange blossom and sea salt. House cocktails start at $13.
SPACE: 36 seats — no standing service to “preserve the atmosphere,” the owners say.
DECOR: Vintage purple and gray wallpaper, chandeliers and mismatched furniture that includes booths that create cozy nooks
CROWD: Anyone in search of a well-made cocktail, Brickel says.
MUSIC: Depends on the night — and who’s manning the dial.
FOOD: Bacon deviled eggs ($8); white truffle hummus ($11); devils on horseback ($8); house pickle plate ($10) and bacon guacamole quesadilla ($10).