Our correspondent vowed to have a drink at every single bar in Hoboken and did so successfully with Spirits in the Sixth Borough.” Every Friday morning, we’ll pick up where he left off, showing you distinctive bars in each New York City borough perhaps for the very first time, perhaps to refresh your memory of a fun place you’ve ducked into, or perhaps to suggest a new spot for you to check out as you gear up for the weekend. You can follow our sudsy travels every week with LocalBozo.com’s “Drink Here Now.”
127 West 26th Street near Sixth Avenue, Chelsea
Getting There: 1 to 28th Street; N,R,W to 28th Street
Drink Here Now: Black Door
With bars around New York City opening and closing with the frequency of car windows, it’s refreshing to find one that’s undeniably low key and un-gimmicked that’s been slinging drinks for more than a decade. The Chelsea haunt known as Black Door first opened up in 2002 and more than a decade later, the place is still sticking to its little subtleties that allow it to be both a bar that is hole in the wall and a neighborhood gem at the same time.
Decor-wise, Black Door is relatively barren, bereft of much design with a black and white color scheme that surrounds the space. During evening’s the place is comfortably dark with small light fixtures on the walls which barely brighten up the black stool seats that make up the bar’s medium sized back area. The focal point upon entering Black Door is the bar itself, behind which features a relatively expansive selection of beers and wines written in white above the stacks of liquor bottles available here. There is a lone painting opposite the bar featuring debutantes and dolled up customers donning bow-ties looking down toward a room filled with drinkers to class up the space a bit. And somehow it works because Black Door has a more upscale feel as a bar than it probably should.
Though there are no beers on tap to speak of and no food served here, Black Door could technically be successfully situated in any neighborhood. My crew and I saddle up at the U-shaped bar fairly early on a weekend evening and though the bar is fairly empty, it gives us an opportunity to chat with the bartender who is overly friendly and accommodating. In the back sits a second room altogether equipped with an equally cool looking bar that is ideal for private party revelers. If the place feels remarkably similar to Union Square’s Park Bar, that’s because it is- the sister bar to Black Door opened even longer ago in 1999 and is slated to celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. Whether its your spot for a first or last drink, a stopover or your final destination, Black Door is a bar that manages to be unpretentious and classy if you’re slugging down a light beer or sipping on a sleek martini and for twelve solid years, the place has certainly been doing plenty right.
Bar Type - A classier bar for the regular guy.
When to Visit – This place is solid for meeting friends for Happy Hour, but ideally is a great spot for your first or last drink of the night.
Value - You’re in Chelsea. Prices here are fairly comparable to the bars in the surrounding neighborhood. But you can hear yourself think and chat with a buddy here so I suppose there’s a value add in that.
The Lowdown – The immediate vibe that I got from Black Door was one that a lot of newly opened bars seem to emulate. But they’ve been holding court in Chelsea for more than a decade with a minimalist decor that has a less is more feel. Inside, the place feels more spacious than it actually is and there’s a certain charm in finding a decent bar that people otherwise might simply walk by in search of a place with more bells and whistles. That’s what makes Black Door so unique and in our estimation so special. And we raise a glass to their continued success, more than a decade and counting.