Some stuff is subjective, like what drink will this be the summer of? Last year’s was the frozen, though some reported alternative anecdotal perceptions. Other stuff is evidenced by empirical fact, like the great speakeasy-style bar resurgence of 2022.
In March, I explored why hidden spots and the patina of secrecy, however thin, have become de rigueur once more in the post-vaccine pandemic, and the genre has continued to expand since then. The latest entrant to the speakeasy-theme scene opens tonight, Wednesday May 11, in Times Square, with a couple more conceits on top of that designation: Sex and the 80s!
The Woo Woo is the latest from PMac’s Hospitality, which operates a consortium of large, exceedingly midtown-y restaurants in, of course, midtown. This one is adjacent to the group’s Irishish offering, The Mean Fiddler, where you can request a password for permission to woo if you haven’t simply found the phrase on the bar’s website or made a reservation.
Inside, The Woo Woo aims to evoke that last decade before widespread internet, its surrounding neighborhood of Times Square in those same, pre-Disney days, sex shops and, the reason for the season, speakeasies. These themes are executed with a combination of graffiti that reasonably approximates the style of the time, vintage nude mags and video tapes, rouge neon, throwback punk show posters and the whole password thing.
Drinks include odes to the era like the Donkey Kong cocktail and a Prince-inspired tipple with a butterfly pea flower “purple rain” ice cube. They’re also doing a cotton candy-topped cosmo and snacks like sliders and spring rolls. The sex shop elements are ornamental at the moment, but may turn retail in the future.
The Woo Woo is located at 226 West 47th Street and is open Wednesday-Saturday from 5pm to 2am.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.