To say that booze and New York City’s subway system don’t mix is an understatement. Not only have ads for alcohol been banned on trains and platforms since 2017, but drinking said beverages in either spot can result in a fine ($50), as can drinking any beverage, for that matter ($25). Is the recent trend of modern-day speakeasies opening in subway stations a savvy move, an exercise in irony or both? Decide for yourself by visiting any of the following three newish spots. If you can find them, that is.

The Newsroom

11-01 43rd Ave., Long Island City

HOW TO FIND IT What do you do when you want a bar in a subway station but don’t have a subway station? If you’re this speakeasy’s owners, you build one. Newsroom, which opened in September inside a shuttered hotel in Queens’ Long Island City, can only be reached by passing through something called the Station Lounge — where signs point to a nonexistent S train — and then passing through a hidden door disguised as a Coke and Snapple machine. Given the name, you expect to come upon the clacking of typewriters, chain-smoking editors and copyboys running around with paste-ups — ah, the good old days. Instead, it’s a room bedecked with chandeliers, rotating light cannons and two stages that on any given night might feature singers, jazz musicians or aerial acts.

Bartender Nicolas Zapada pours a drink at The Newsroom in Long Island City, Queens. Credit: Olivia Falcigno

“If it doesn’t work for you, please tell me and I’ll take it back,” Omar the server says, delivering a fruity gin concoction named Columnist Quencher ($17). The drink is too good to send back. Elsewhere around the newsroom-themed bar-restaurant, a giant ring is suspended over a makeshift stage and a woman with a mic is wandering through the dining room singing that Michael Bublé song “Feeling Good.”

“We are going for something unpredictable. Unpredictable is what people want,” Omar says, waving his arm around a dining room in which all 20 or so tables are taken. The adjacent bar is crowded too. Newsroom’s main draw is unpredictability. Most Coke machines dispense long-familiar sodas from age-old brands. Not this place.

Guests enter The Newsroom through a secret door inside a...

Guests enter The Newsroom through a secret door inside a vending machine in Long Island City, New York. Credit: Olivia Falcigno

ON THE MENU Cocktails for the ink-stained set include the vodka-based Front Page ($17) to the mezcal-infused Interview ($18), along with a Latin fusion dinner menu that’s equal parts chi-chi (filet mignon taquitos, $19) and decadent (drunken duck breast, $30), a two-pronged approach that also informs Saturday brunches, when dishes run the gamut from eggs Benedict with ropa vieja ($20) to chocolate brioche French toast ($22).

The Newsroom in Long Island City, Queens. Credit: Olivia Falcigno

MORE INFO Open Thursday and Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. Closed Sunday through Wednesday; 929-303-3172,

Nothing Really Matters

Enter at 210 W. 50th St., Manhattan

HOW TO FIND IT You could spend 15 minutes wandering around the train station near 50th and Broadway in hopes of locating a Duane Reade, which online posts have suggested is the best way to find this classy bar — which it probably was before the pharmacy closed last year. Look for a flight of stairs with fire engine red walls — this leads to a second set of stairs flanked by subterranean storefronts already shuttered for the evening at 5 p.m., then a set of mirrored walls and, at last, the discreetly marked portico of a cocktail lounge.

Nothing Really Matters is in an unlikely place: the 50th...

Nothing Really Matters is in an unlikely place: the 50th Street station of the 1 subway line in Manhattan. Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

Inside is a mile-long oaken bar, couples who seem to be competing for some canoodling prize, row upon row of various spirits moodily lit, and a fellow patron named Misaki Ito, an exchange student from Nagoya, Japan who arrived in New York less than three months ago.

“We have a lot of secret bars like this in Japan” she says. Plus, she is staying with a friend who lives nearby. “And it’s so cool, nobody knows me here.”

Nothing Really Matters’ soundtrack is replete with singers and bands you’ve never heard of, but suddenly want to — Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Hemlocke Springs, Caroline Polachek.

ON THE MENU Signature concoctions are named for songs you do recognize (e.g., “She Drives Me Crazy,” “Express Yourself”), like the Mayor of Simpleton, a swirling of white Armagnac and apricot liqueur ($19).

MORE INFO Open Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.,

La Noxe

315 7th Ave., enter at 162 W. 28th St., Manhattan

La Noxe, a cozy cocktail lounge in Chelsea, is inside...

La Noxe, a cozy cocktail lounge in Chelsea, is inside the 28th St. subway station.  Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

HOW TO FIND IT Climb and descend various stairways to nowhere inside the 28th St. station of the 1 train and you'll eventually come across a nondescript black door with a small gold sign, and then an even smaller one telling you to please ring the bell. After a moment, a smartly dressed man named Jey Perie might usher you down a stairwell, through a curtain and into what looks like an upscale living room disguised as an upscale basement rec room, 600 square feet of coziness best appreciated by no more than 20 or 30 patrons at a time.

“It was advertised as a basement retail space in the commercial real estate section of the New York Times,” Perie says in a French accent, recounting La Noxe’s history. “But then I come here and it’s like a massage parlor. The space was divided into all these rooms, there was even a shower in here. It was already a speakeasy.”

Whatever its provenance, Perie’s semi-hidden spot has ditched past tawdriness, and ditched too the password gimmickry and pointless whimsy that plague many a modern speakeasy. Instead, La Noxe seems to be aiming to cultivate a raft of regulars, each positive that La Noxe is their bar. Sofas and armchairs are bathed in reddish light and made for lingering, while bartenders are exceedingly knowledgeable and bathed in ghostly yellow. Less than four years old — it originally opened during the bar-mageddon that was March 2020 — La Noxe possesses an old soul, a point made by its playlist (Carole King, Christopher Cross).

“We survived COVID and have been busy since the first day we reopened,” says Perie, adding that his bar isn’t always so sedate. “On some nights, we bring in a deejay, move the furniture. It gives the place a less speakeasy vibe, more of a dance club.”

ON THE MENU Cocktails like Forbidden Love (vodka, aloe, lemon, cucumber), a stupendous banana daiquiri (both $19), and above all its quiet, conversation-friendly vibe.

MORE INFO Open Sunday through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 917-477-3103,


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