This Vintage Midtown Speakeasy Is A Piece Of 19th Century History

Beneath the Life Hotel is now a historic speakeasy serving up fabulous cocktails. Gibson & Luce is the not-so-new bar that just opened under the lobby.

The hotel was once the Life magazine headquarters, and below it (in the space that’s now the bar) was where the journalists would go to do their drinking. As Zagat reports:

“The team, helmed by BR Guest Hospitality vet Stephen Hanson, named it after one time Life magazine editor Charles Dana Gibson and publishing legend Henry R. Luce, a fitting tribute to the building’s storied history.”

The speakeasy features upscale bar food such as Gently Poached Shrimp (with holy schmidt’s horseradish, and chili roasted cocktail sauce); Goose Fat Potato Knishes (with crème fraiche, dill, and hackleback caviar); Henry Burger (daily ground aged beef blend with caramelized onions, american cheese, smoked bacon, vigz sauce, and french fries); and a variety of pizzas like their Pizza Bianca (which comes with black pepper ricotta, potato, and saunders farm egg).

(Photo via Gibson & Luce)
(Photo via Gibson & Luce)

As for cocktails, the names are as fun as the drinks themselves! The variety of alcohols can please nearly all taste buds, including cocktails like the Muse Slushy (made with Puerto Rican rum, pineapple, cane, lemon, bitters, and nutmeg); Good Luck Charm (made with Japanese rice whisky, poppyseed, cucumber, lemon, soda, and mint); Cheeky Blighter (made with blended scotch, banana, sherry, chili, honey, and bitters);So Tight (made with mezcal, vermouth, yellow pepper, lemon, chili, bitter, and togarashi); and Tapatio (made with tequila, sherry, corn, raspberry, lemon, egg white, and toasted milk). You’ll also find other gins, whiskeys, vermouths, and aged rum in their list of wonderful cocktails.

Muse Slushy via Gibson & Luce
Muse Slushy (Photo via Gibson & Luce)
To Share: Mar(tiny) Service created in front of you with vodka, vermouth, garnishes, and tinctures (Photo via Gibson & Luce)
To Share: Mar(tiny) Service created in front of you with vodka, vermouth, garnishes, and tinctures (Photo via Gibson & Luce)

The speakeasy can be found through the doorway in the back of the Life Hotel’s lobby in Koreatown, located at 19 West 31st Street. 

What: Gibson & Luce

Where: 19 West 31st Street, at Life Hotel

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

All article images courtesy of Gibson & Luce

Also published on Medium.


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