BY STEPHANIE AMY COLLAZO
2nd Floor on Clinton
67 Clinton Street
Lower East Side, NYC, 10002
Enter through Barramundi
Thursday, Friday and Saturday
7 p.m. – 2 a.m. last seating at 1 a.m.
Unlike other speakeasy style bars there is no password involved in gaining entry to the 2nd Floor on Clinton, people just have to know where to go.
Upon entering Barramundi I was both nervous and excited, I had never been to a speakeasy style bar before and couldn’t tell if I was headed in the right direction or not. I made my way to the back of the bar where through some glass tiles I could see a staircase. I was sure those were the stairs to 2nd Floor on Clinton but just couldn’t figure out if the entrance was the door clearly marked Private or if there was some top secret hidden entrance behind the door clearly leading to the restrooms.
Luckily I had scheduled a meeting with Tony Powe, owner of both Barramundi and 2nd Floor on Clinton, because when I went to the bartender claiming to have no idea where I was going she told me he would be right up rather than playing a joke as Powe had explained she rather enjoyed doing to people looking for the secret bar.
“One time she told someone they had to go into the bathroom and flush the toilet three times and a secret door would open,” said Powe, as we made our way to the upstairs seating area.
Mixologist Ken Eberle, a 16-year veteran of the NYC bar scene, created the cocktail menu. A few of the drinks on the menu had short stories explaining why they had their names.
The Topsy-Turvy, my drink of choice, was named for a donkey owned by Powe’s great grandfather. Ginger infused Death’s Door Vodka, honey liqueur, fresh lime and club soda make up the Topsy-Turvy. The drink was delicious; it was sweet and the ginger lightened up the sweetness of the honey.
I also tried the Maiden’s Prayer cocktail which was made of Castarede Armagnac “Selection,” Rhum JM VSOP, Cointreau, vanilla extract, sweet cream and nutmeg. This drink was a little strong for my taste but it had a lovely after taste.
Patrons of the bar can also order from a selection of handmade truffles (3 for $9) supplied by local chocolatier Roni-Sue’s. 2nd Floor on Clinton carries six different truffles from Roni Sue’s cocktail collection including Absinthe, Margarita, Manhattan and Dark & Stormy.
The Absinthe truffle had a nice licorice undertone that one would normally get from absinthe, and considering I am not a fan of dark chocolate, the pairing makes it more than bearable.
The Dark & Stormy, my least favorite of the truffles, featured Gosling’s rum, fresh ginger and lime zest. I didn’t quite get the lime zest flavor, and though the sugared ginger placed on top of the truffle added a bit of sweetness I found it’s flavor to be over powered by the dark chocolate.
Finally there was the Margarita truffle, which had to be my favorite of the three truffles I sampled while visiting 2nd Floor. Once you bite into the Margarita truffle you get a burst of citrus flavor from the creamy center and the sea salt sprinkled on top completes the margarita experience.
2nd Floor on Clinton has a very relaxing atmosphere. They do not permit groups larger than four and only allow a limited number of guests to enter at a time.
Table service ensures that guests will pace their drinking while the calm music and small groups encourage speaking in hushed tones.
This place is the perfect place to start your night. If you’re not sure if you are up for a night of drinking start at the 2nd Floor on Clinton, if you decide you want to get your booze on you can always head on down to Barramundi for contemporary music and typical bar drinks.