Above: Ginnyâ€™s Supper Club.
With this past winterâ€™s closing of the Oak Roomâ€”the iconic cabaret venue in Manhattanâ€™s just-renovated Algonquin Hotelâ€”the New York supper-club scene seemed to be on a downhill slide. But the opening of a pair of new subterranean spots suggests otherwise. Ginnyâ€™s Supper Club (310 Lenox Ave.; 1-212/792-9001; ginnyssupperclub.com) is a riotous den located underneath Sweden- raised chef Marcus Samuelssonâ€™s two-year-old Harlem hot spot the Red Rooster. Designed as a homage to the gin-soaked boĂ®tes that dotted Harlem in the 1920s, the space is all leather banquettes and carved wooden arches, with a broad backlit stage that hosts acts ranging from jazz and R&B to Motown and Gospel. Samuelssonâ€™s Chinese-and French-influenced menu also harks back to the neighborhoodâ€™s Prohibition- era clubs, with dishes like jerk veal tongue on steam buns and lobster thermidor.
â€˘ Tucked below Time Squareâ€™s once-notorious Studio 54, 54 Below (254 West 54th St.; 1-646/476-3551; 54below.com) is the true inheritor of the Oak Roomâ€™s cabaret mantle. Here, in a speakeasy-esque room created by Tony Awardâ€“winning set designer John Lee Beatty, the best of Broadway both old and new take the stage while adoring fans look on over classic cocktails and small plates. Patti Lupone kicked things off in June, with a show that the New York Times described as â€śbrilliant,â€ť and coming up for fall are such Great White Way superstars as Marin Mazzie and Linda Lavin.Â â€“Andrew Sessa
Originally appeared in the August/September 2012 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śOn With The Showâ€ť)