Secret supper prohibition-era restaurant pops up in Vancouver, Canada

popup restaurant For three evenings only, Swallow Tail Canada will once again be hosting their Secret Supper Soiree in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. While guests can expect a classy 1930’s-inspired underground bar, murder mysteries, transportation in a timeless double decker bus, and tastings of wines that are not available on the market, they will not know the location of the speakeasy until the night of the event.

The creators of the prohibition-era pop-up event are telling guests to meet at Pacific Central Station and from there will be picked up and taken backwards in time. To make the event more realistic, participants are also being asked to wear their fanciest speakeasy attire. Once at the secret location, a five-course tasting menu by Chef Andrea Carlson of Bishops as well as one Pims Cup and three wine tastings from local wineries will be offered.

Says Chef, Sommelier, and Owner of Swallow Tail Canada, Robin Kort, “I used to be a swing dancer, so I’m really enamored by the 1930s and that whole speakeasy era. It embodies what Swallow Tail is, too. It’s underground, exclusive, and secret. I like that vibe.”

Dates for the event are January 21, January 28, and February 4 at 4PM. Click here to purchase tickets.

Retro cocktails and old-school ambiance at speakeasies around the U.S.

One of my favorite bars in Chicago, the Violet Hour, can be a bit difficult for first-timers to find. There’s no sign, no address, no windows, and upon first glance, no bar there at all. But if you look more closely at the boarded up storefront, you’ll see there is a door. And once inside it, you’ll be transported to another world – one where cell phones are not allowed, where plush curtains absorb the sound of patrons engaged in quiet conversation and candles provide the only light, where it’s “sitting room only” and capacity is strictly controlled, and where inventive cocktails are expertly handcrafted using ingredients like egg whites, rosewater, and homemade bitters.

The Violet Hour is a speakeasy style lounge. The old-timey uniforms of the staff and the novelty of the mystery location provide a gimmick that gets people in the door (once they find it anyway), but what keeps them coming back are the quality cocktails, quiet, relaxed atmosphere and extremely talented staff. Costing $12 each and taking around 10 minutes to make, the cocktails aren’t for those looking for a quick buzz. But for intimate evenings with friends, a romantic date, or just a darn good drink, the Violet Hour is worth searching for.

Along with the Violet Hour, Budget Travel also recommends several other speakeasy lounges around the United States. From Los Angeles to New York and Cleveland to New Orleans, these hip haunts serve up retro cocktails in glamorous throwback settings. You can “party like it’s 1929”, without that pesky Prohibition law.

Undiscovered New York: 10 unique NYC sights

It’s been exactly 10 months since our very first feature here at Undiscovered New York. Given the occasion, it’s the perfect time to look back at some of our “greatest hits.” When we first started the Undiscovered New York series, our intention was to provide an insider’s look at the hidden places, history and overlooked spots in this huge city, the very spots many visitors don’t have a chance to visit.

Along the way we’ve taken you through all five boroughs of the city, from the far reaches of The Bronx, to the the rich cultural tapestry of Queens, to the quiet waterways of Staten Island. We’ve revisited some familiar sights with a fresh look and discovered hidden gems begging for exploration.

If you ever wanted a chance to check out the “undiscovered” side of New York, this week you’re in luck. We’re counting down the top 10 unique New York City sights, reviewing our favorite unexplored and lesser-known Big Apple experiences. You may find spots you know and love and a plenty more you’ve never heard of. Ready to go exploring? Let’s take a look.

  • Number 10: Staten Island’s Snug Harbor – New York visitors need not go far from Manhattan to get a unexpected look at this huge city. In fact, just a 25 minute ferry ride away is Staten Island, home to Snug Harbor, a former complex for elderly sailors. In addition to some wildly beautiful harbor views this quirky compound has modern art and a botanic garden complete with its own hedge maze.
  • Number 9: Secret Eating + Drinking – A city the size of New York is bound to have some hidden spaces. In fact, as we discovered, it’s filled with Prohibition-style speakeasies, secret burger joints and unassuming taco spots ready for some clandestine enjoyment. Places secret enough, in fact, that we got a few people angry for giving away their hidden favorites. See what we uncovered.
  • Number 8: East Village + Japan – New York’s East Village is a neighborhood best known for St. Mark’s Place and the youthful rebellion of Punk. But in 2009, the East Village is less the home of mohawked-rockers than ground zero for some first rate Japanese food, shopping and culture. Find out how to experience Tokyo without ever leaving the Big Apple.
  • Number 7: Best NYC Pizza – New York is a pizza-lover’s dream. Nothing better embodies the city’s frantic energy and high culinary standards than the simple New York slice. We investigated some of the best slices from here to Brooklyn and Staten Island (and back again) to crown New York’s pizza champions. See who came out on top.
  • Number 6: Graffiti Culture & 5 Pointz – the 1970’s and 80’s presented New York with a unique confluence of events: as the city fell apart due to massive budget problems, a golden era of hip-hop and street art came of age. We investigated New York’s wild graffiti history, even pointing a spot in Queens where you can see some awesome street art on a massive scale.
  • Number 5: Bronx Little Italy – many New York City visitors know about Manhattan’s Little Italy. But not very many are familiar with Arthur Avenue, a second Little Italy in The Bronx, site for some of the city’s most authentic Italian meats, cheeses and pastries. Italian food lovers will want to check this little-known spot out.
  • Number 4: Staten Island Graveyards – Staten Island is frequently regarded as New York’s “forgotten” Borough, an island that provides a shocking variety of unexpected attractions and great food. We investigated the ghostly boat graveyards just off Staten Island’s coast and then stopped off to visit another more human burial ground dating back to the Revolutionary War.
  • Number 3: Hudson River Valley – there’s a lot more to New York than its bustling metropolis. In fact, just north of the city that never sleeps lies one of the United States’ hidden treasures: the Hudson River Valley. Along the shores of this majestic waterway lie stunning views, contemporary art and regal Presidential mansions.
  • Number 2: Corona Park, Queens – Corona Park, located just South of Citi Field and LaGuardia Airport is quite possibly New York’s most outrageous hidden attraction, albeit one hidden in plain sight. Site of not one but two World’s Fair, Corona Park boast huge deserted stadiums, a 140-foot-tall globe, the temporary home of the United Nations and some of the best Lemon Ice ever.
  • Number 1: 7 Train to Latin America – New York is home to a huge range of immigrants, representing every corner of the globe. Nowhere is this more true than in Queens, a Borough home to a wildly diverse range of cultures, foods and attractions. Along Roosevelt Avenue you’ll find a rich mixture of authentic culture from around South and Central America boasting Mexican taco stands, Cuban food, Ecuadorean street carts and Argentine bakeries. It’s the equivalent of backpacking south of the border for 3 months, all less than an hour from Manhattan by subway.

Speakeasy Eating

I
mentioned the old speakeasy Chumley’s in a post a while back because it is one of my favorite places in New York City.
There really aren’t any more speakeasies around since alcohol is now legal. But there is a new phenomenon spreading in
places like New York and San Francisco that is quite interesting: speakeasy cuisine.

This article in the SF Chronicle
discusses the secret eating culture in SF. But I know for a fact that this type of thing exists in Manhattan. People
offer their private homes for personal dining experiences…they are, of course, hard to find. They are also often
illegal.

The place they mention in the SF Chronicle piece is called Ghetto Gourmet, and it is said to be one of the hottest restaurants in the
Bay Area that you have never heard of.  Ghetto Gourmet isn’t listed in the phone book and there is no sign out
front. You find it by word of mouth…and then your stomach becomes very happy. Personally, I love the idea of these
secret dining hideaways. In fact, after writing this post I’m going to see if I can find some around here in the city,
and will post what I find.