The "speakeasy" rubric has, for almost a decade, been tossed around and misapplied to spots that don't really apply; if you have a liquor license, you literally cannot be a speakeasy. Still, the term has been redefined in a post-Prohibition age to encompass an establishment that's hidden or secret in some way, a description that applies to Hell Phone, a new cocktail den and restaurant "hidden" inside Bushwick's Ange Noir Cafe on Varet Street. Just look for the London-style phone booth.
Vanessa and Anguy Pacini first opened Ange Noir Cafe in 2012 and later discovered that another space behind the cafe was also available. "This space was perfect to open a Speakeasy, a lot of potential thanks to these brick wall, lights and perfect size," Vanessa told us. And thus Hell Phone was brought forth from the depths this July, hopefully as a place "where people can come and able to speak without yelling," she continued. "This is a perfect place for a Romantic dinner or just to spend a good time after work."
Anguy, Vanessa's husband, did all of the design and built almost everything in the bar by hand, including the space's signature phone booths, phone booth sofa and a piano table. You'll notice a Union Jack adorning one of the tables but the couple are in fact French and have designed the food menu to reflect that. Dishes include a selection of crepes stuffed with things like curried chicken and almonds or tomato and mozzarella, plus sweet iterations with caramelized apples.
"People can start at the bar with a cocktail, and order appetizer to eat on the piano, and maybe finish their night on the sofa with a dinner," Vanessa explained. The full bar includes a list of speciality cocktails like the Riviera, a mix of rum, lime, rose syrup, St. Germaine and champagne.
247 Varet Street, Bushwick, (718) 821-2459; website