City Editor Kate here. I stopped by the newly renovated Thompson’s Bookstore for a sneak peek of the downtown bar — and y’all don’t want to miss this.
Falling back on the history of Hell’s Half Acre, the establishment that was once a bookstore and pharmacy is once again a place for books and medicine — except the reading material is a cocktail menu, and the medicine is top-shelf bourbon.
The fan-favorite bar at 900 Houston St. reopened at the end of July, expanding its cozy interiors to include an underground speakeasy, light-filled event space, and luxurious cigar lounge that hold 65-70 people each.
What we tried:
Each space has its own signature drinks. You can’t go wrong with a “100 Years of Solitude” (made with bourbon and a blow torch) from the bestseller menu or the summery, Sangria-like “The Blood of Flowers.”
What not to miss:
The basement-level speakeasy is fully renovated with plush seating, glittering metallic accents, and drinks inspired by infamous gangsters like Al Capone. For access from the inside of the building, select the just right book on the main floor, and the bookshelf swings open like a secret passage. For exterior access, keep an eye out for the red light on the West 8th St. side of the building.
Pro tip: Check out the second-level rentable room for events, and wow your guests with a charming Art Deco space.
What we’re still talking about:
The top-floor cigar lounge — once a brothel — offers Thompson’s signature hand-rolled cigars and whiskey + bourbon flights. Keep an eye out for an upcoming VIP card that grants you access to the bar’s selection of rare liquors.
How you can experience this:
Check Thompson’s social media accounts every Wednesday for the speakeasy’s secret password and sign up for the newsletter for specials and deals.
Pro tip: Parking downtown can be a hassle, so check out the FTWtoday parking guide before you head over.