The mind behind one of New York’s most legendary speakeasies is currently preparing to debut a brand new concept some time next year.
Jeff Bell is something of a legend in the East Village’s nightlife scene. Having launched one of New York’s first secret bars and initiated the city’s speakeasy renaissance, Bell has ironically become of New York’s most celebrated mixologists. If you’ve had the inside scoop on East Village hospitality during the last decade, the you’ve likely encountered Please Don’t Tell, the secretive bar tucked away behind a phone booth in the neighborhoods popular spot Crif Dogs. While the neighborhood was known for the kind of grimy dive bar you might expect to find attached to a hot dog restaurant, Please Don’t Tell surprised guests when it first debuted as an elegant high-end cocktail bar, featuring Bell’s refined and industry-shaking concoctions.
Today, Please Don’t Tell is recognized as one of the most influential cocktail bars in the neighborhood, and owner Jim Meehan claims that their bartenders have created over 200 original craft cocktails since opening up on St Marks Place. Now, after many years of successful operation at Please Don’t Tell, Jeff Bell is once again getting ready to launch an innovative new concept. Teaming up with Apres Cru Hospitality, the team behind recognizable spots like Crif Dogs, Pig And Khao, and One Fifth, Bell is looking to launch a brand new restaurant concept at 102 Christopher Street some time next year.
The new spot, which has yet to be officially named, is described as “the quintessential downtown restaurant and bar that looks to the past to celebrate New York and American cuisine”. In the mornings and afternoons, the space will serve coffee and lunch to locals and visitors, while in the evenings, the restaurant will “transition to a place for neighbors to enjoy world class food, cocktails, and wine in a setting that celebrates this 100 year old building.”
Opening up in a historic building between Bleecker and Bedford Streets, the space is currently occupied by the popular clothing retailer Rag & Bone and features a total 1,561 square feet of space on the ground floor, and 1,054 square feet of space in the cellar. The location is estimated to seat about 66 guests at one time, including a small proposed outdoor cafe where guests can enjoy Bell’s signature cocktails while watching the fashionable locals stroll through Christopher Street.
Before Bell and the Apres Cru team can move forward with development though, they must first acquire the necessary liquor licensing approval from the local community board. They are currently proposing operating hours of 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM every day, seven days a week, though those hours are subject to change pending the board’s decision. While the new restaurant concept is still way too early into development to have its own social media presence at this point, you can follow Jeff Bell on Instagram for future updates on all of his latest endeavors.