A secret no more, Sleep No More has become a rite of passage for New Yorkers seeking to trip out visiting relatives or the date who's not content to spend an evening clinging to happy hour pint specials. Commensurate with the Eatalyization of Sophisticated, One-Stop Entertainment, the McKittrick Hotel now offers an array of venues and bars that don't involve donning a mask.
On the night we visited, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band had taken over the McKittrick's cabaret space, the Heath. The small venue essentially feels like a Victorian-era bordello—stuffed birds stare down at your table, hidden fog machines keep things hazy, and the wallpaper and woodwork look genuine. Somehow it doesn't feel weird or forced, just pleasantly themed. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is no joke though, and made it tough to muster the energy to be skeptical of this place. When the band members implore you to yell "Shake that thing!" you comply and order another drink.
The Manhattan was strong: rye, and with brandied cherries, which is how it should be. It's also served in a champagne glass which, if you aren't on Sex in the City, is a touch we'll always appreciate. The snack menu rotates depending on who's playing the space, but our Male Vinegar Pork Cracklin's (!) were pretty tasty, and just $5. Other items included grilled steak skewers ($10), french fries ($6), fried chickpeas ($5), and other classy junk food. Beer was $8 a pint, cocktails a few dollars more.
On the roof is Gallow Green, a large, lush bar that's great for tenderly touching your date on the forearm and sighing, or reminding your party that You Are All Masters of the Universe. Sometimes people perform up there too, but we were content to just breathe some air.
None of this is cheap (reserved seats to see Preservation Hall Jazz Band were $65, though most tickets run in the $10-$25 range). And the idea of cramming a bunch of people who are having disconnected experiences into a massive space in Chelsea feels cloyingly New York. But in an alternate universe, you could imagine it being somewhere you would often go if you were making enough money. Which is also New York to a T.