Above: Ginny’s Supper Club.
With this past winter’s closing of the Oak Room—the iconic cabaret venue in Manhattan’s just-renovated Algonquin Hotel—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. Ginny’s Supper Club (310 Lenox Ave.; 1-212/792-9001; ginnyssupperclub.com) is a riotous den located underneath Sweden- raised chef Marcus Samuelsson’s two-year-old Harlem hot spot the Red Rooster. Designed as a homage to the gin-soaked boîtes 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. Samuelsson’s Chinese-and French-influenced menu also harks back to the neighborhood’s Prohibition- era clubs, with dishes like jerk veal tongue on steam buns and lobster thermidor.
• Tucked below Time Square’s once-notorious Studio 54, 54 Below (254 West 54th St.; 1-646/476-3551; 54below.com) is the true inheritor of the Oak Room’s cabaret mantle. Here, in a speakeasy-esque room created by Tony Award–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 “brilliant,” and coming up for fall are such Great White Way superstars as Marin Mazzie and Linda Lavin. –Andrew Sessa
Originally appeared in the August/September 2012 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“On With The Show”)