Death & Co. was the third stop on my speakeasy crawl—after Please Don’t Tell and Angel’s Share. As I write this, I see that their website is blocked at work, which is hilarious, given that there are dozens of other bars with websites that I can get to easily.
There’s no hidden door to get into Death & Co. The street entrance is in plain sight, but it’s a barely-marked wooden door with the name of the establishment written in such small print that you could easily miss it.
Like the other speakeasies, standees aren’t allowed, so you have to wait until a seat is available. The host is outside, so you don’t even get to look at the place until he lets you in. It was about 9:00 p.m., which is pretty early for a Friday night in the East Village; even so, I waited about five minutes, but I was alone. For couples, the host had a long waiting list.
The dark photo (above) is no exaggeration: there isn’t a lot of light. Like a casino, there are no open windows, and you could easily lose track of time. But I hadn’t lost track of my cocktail count, and I decided to have just one.
The cocktail menu is in categories organized by the main ingredient (gin, rum, tequila, brandy, etc.). They are every bit as inventive, and as well made, as at Please Don’t Tell. I settled on the Black Magic ($13; cognac, angostura, 5-year rum, white crème de menthe, fernet branca, and absinthe).
The food here is compelling, with a selection of bar snacks (most under $15) that go beyond the obvious—for a cocktail bar. I had an order of really well made barbecued pulled-pork sliders ($12): three plump helpings of pork on toasted mini-buns, and potato salad too. Most nights, that could be dinner for me.
I’m not quite sure when I’ll make it back—the line to get in is rather daunting (to me)—but I was impressed here.
Death & Co. (433 E. 6th Street between First Avenue & Avenue A, East Village)