Hidden NY: Midtown’s 21 Club has a front row to history and secrets to tell

Posted at 9:50 AM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-10 03:35:26-05

Hiding in plain sight, in the middle of New York City, is the 21 Club.

Celebrities and CEOs know it's the place to see and be seen. They often leave behind their toys to mark their territory! You'll see lots of them hanging from the ceiling.

The restaurant is welcoming and comfortable. You can even just stop in for a drink and lounge in front of the fire. If you stay for the food, you're in for a treat. If steak tartare isn't your thing, try the burger.

The coolest part of the whole 21 Club experience is getting the grand tour. It's rare enough to get to walk through a restaurant's kitchen, but there's more!

First you'll be led down the stairs to the cellar. Without your guide you'd never find the secret door, or figure out how to open it. Hint: It involves putting a skewer into a hole you'd never know was there.  One click and you're in!

According to General Manager Theodore Suric, "During prohibition when they got raided in 1931, those bottles went down the chutes." Any booze that was up top was quickly whisked out of sight down here.

Now, it's a wine cellar where movie stars and presidents still have their wine stored. You'll find labels on the bottles of those living, like Chelsea Clinton, and those passed, like Elizabeth Taylor and President Nixon. The cellar now has an inventory of $1.5 million.

Pass by the wine and step over a pipe and you're in a beautiful private dining space.

"This is the crown jewel, the DNA of 21," said Suric. "On the outside, you have the [lawn] jockeys, the iron gates, the toys in the bar room – Then you have this."

My visit to Club 21 was definitely an unforgettable experience.

21 Club is located at 21 West 52nd St. and you can make reservations at