Virtually every bar in New York is a must-visit destination, but it does not get much cooler than a secret bar in a bar. However, the patent application laboratory goes one step further.
The Lab is actually a hidden cave connected through a natural arch inde by speakeasy Patent Pending, which in itself is only accessible through a hidden door in Patent Coffee, a cafe (a day) on West 27th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. Think of it as a hidden bar in a secret bar in a public coffee shop.
Ryan McKenzie opened the patent application back in 2018. Inside the Radio Wave Building, speakeasy refers to Nikola Tesla, the famous electrical inventor who actually lived on the site when it was still the Gerlach Hotel, in many different ways. From menu to decor, the radio theme is clearly known here.
Last year, in 2021, McKenzie opened the tucked away The Lab, which serves the same menu as Patent Pending. In addition to serving as its own bar, the space can be rented out for company and private parties. In terms of decor, you can expect large mirrors all over the walls and black mirrors in the ceiling, plus an actual dance floor with the very small tiles that adorned the original hotel. A total of five bar seats are complemented by a bunch of stools, one banquet that seats ten and another that can accommodate up to 12 guests. You can even choose to use a separate entrance and avoid going through Patent Pending (which you honestly should have a drink on too!).
The place’s recently rolled out winter cocktail menu exemplifies the sovereignty of the drinks that are always on offer at both patent litigants and The Lab. Take, for example, Science Fiction Factor, which is made with Mexican corn whiskey, Urfa bees and smoked serrano-infused Fernet – stirred in the right amount, it is ideal for those who want a spicy intake.
Creativity, however, seems to always be at the center here. The Electrostatic Evening is the bar’s own version of a hot apple cider, and it basically becomes a milk punch, while Suspicions of Espionage is a riff on a pisco sour with wildflower, caramelized passion fruit and single malt Scotch.
Also a standout is Mind Over Matter, a winter Christmas-style cocktail made with brandy, Tasmanian peppers and plum.
Back to actually finding The Lab: Go to 49 West 27th Street, call the street-level buzzer, walk through the live coffee shop, find the hidden door that gives you access to Patent Pending, and then ask to be directed to The Lab . A very New York-like experience.