Speakeasy’s are pretty common in New York City. There’s a good amount of news surrounding places like PDT, a speakeasy held behind the phone booth of the also popular hot dog joint, Crif Dogs, and “The Backroom” hidden behind the Blind Barber barbershop.
And if you’re like us, you relish in the unknown. The feeling of excitement you get before entering what looks like an everyday establishment and finding, instead, a secret place where you can revel in the fact that you’re part of something a little more special.
Now, there’s a new place to be, letting you do just that. Patent Coffee is a Grab & Go Single Origin Coffee Shop near Chelsea. They’ve got rotating coffees and pastries baked daily by Pain d’Avignon. They’ve even got a Senior Food Editor from Bon Appetit (Claire Saffitz) making their cookies.
But the real fun comes not only from the impressive coffee shop itself, but from what it becomes when the sun sets. After the doors are closed and nighttime sets in, the coffee stops brewing and night owls are invited for a look behind the menu on the wall to Patent Pending, a speakeasy with equal flair.
You feel cool just walking through the door, and that only multiplies once you hit the bar.
One look at the menu and you’ll realize you’re in a hipster’s paradise. Looking for a drink to post to Instagram? Each page on the menu has a flap that uncovers what your drink will look like, so you can plan before ordering and enjoy the flavor and aesthetic in equal parts.
We got a chance to preview the new digs and sipped on 6 cocktails, including our favorite, The Radio Wave, with Tequila, Mezcal, Rhum Agricole, Basil, Thai Chili, Lime, and Cucumber. Another popular offer was a pink drink called Strange Magic, made with Vodka, Strawberry, Madeira, Grapefruit, Lemon, Prosecco, and Seltzer.
But no matter the drink , we couldn’t really find anything we didn’t like. They have options for every kind of taste and flavor preference (12 original cocktails, to be exact). They even have options for cocktails made with coffees from Patent Coffee, in addition to their wines and beers, if you’re just in a cocktail mood already tried them all.
Patent Coffee and Patent Pending are located at 49 West 27th Street
While we’re already planning to head back for seconds, we also got the chance to interview the Owner, Ryan McKenzie, who is also the Co-founder of the creative agency Simmer, and asked him a few questions about Patent, and how it all came about.
1. What was the inspiration behind Patent Coffee and Patent Pending?
It was a bit selfish actually! Simmer Group’s office is right around the corner, and my Simmer partners Ryan Cuvelier and Max Kimble wanted a place where we could grab coffee during the day, and cocktails after work.
2. Which came first – Patent Coffee or Patent Pending?
It was a chicken and egg scenario! Our landlords agreed to letting us put the cocktail bar in the back if we had a cafe in the front, we agreed.
3. Why choose a coffee shop to cover for a speakeasy?
We’re obviously not the first people to think of this… In New York alone you have the very famous Bathtub Gin, which did it well and did it first. We thought of maybe doing other things up front, but with the limited space we had, and the needs of the neighborhood, we quickly landed on the coffee shop.
4. How did you come up with the inventive way to present the menus?
The menus (and everything else) were created by our agency, Simmer Group. Inspired by Nikola Tesla’s sketchbooks, we wanted something functional and easy to navigate, yet unique and inventive. We hired an artist to re-create Tesla’s patents for the four categories of drinks, we used copywriters and artists and basically became Tesla historians. It was one of the most fun part of the branding side of things.
5. What was your inspiration behind the curation of the cocktail menu?
The cocktail menu and bar program are from the brains of Nick Rolin and Harrison Ginsberg, two veteran bartenders who honed their craft at Blacktail and Dead Rabbit – two award winning NYC cocktail bars. We wanted the best and were very lucky to have found them. The drinks are fantastic and fit the place perfectly.
6. What has the reception been like?
Wonderful. We’re very lucky and grateful in that it seems to be a place people enjoy spending time in.
7. There are a few good speakeasies in city, what sets Patent Pending apart?
Yes there are! I’ve spent the last 5 years visiting every one multiple times and would have to say that what sets Patent Pending apart is our mix of quality cocktails with the subterranean, clandestine and historic space.
8. What’s your favorite drink on the menu? (coffee + cocktail)
I’d have to go with the Radio Waves (I’ve been in a mezcal mood for a while ahah) and the oat milk cappuccino, paired with a oatmeal toffee pecan cookie from the senior food editor at Bon Appetite, Claire Saffitz.