I basically only drink the three Cs: coffee, champagne, and cocktails. When I heard about a hidden speakeasy inside of a coffee shop, a visit had to be made. Cori Sue and I ventured off to Patent Pending on a cold Sunday night to embark on an evening adventure. You’ve likely walked past the cute coffee shop appropriately named Patent Coffee many times without a second glance. But what you might not have known is that a world of cocktails awaits you behind the large doors displaying the coffee offerings.
Photo credit: Simmer Group
A neon sign outside the bar confirms its existence after 5 p.m. inside of the closed coffee shop. There’s a buzzer that prompts you to enter in the numbers 4-9-2-7, as in 49 W.27th Street, in case you forget. Once you make it inside the candle-lit coffee shop, you can go past the cleverly concealed doors and find Patent Pending. A whole new dimension emerges as you go past the gorgeous drapery to find dangling light bulbs, teal leather booths, and exposed brick.
The location might be unassuming, but Patent Pending is actually in the cellar of the historic Radio Wave Building. If you’re a physics geek, then you know it’s where Nikola Tesla lived when he experimented with radio waves and transmitted them to his laboratory near the present day Trinity Church downtown.
Patent Pending was dreamt up by Ryan McKenzie, a founding partner of the hospitality and creative agency Simmer. We have Harrison Ginsberg and Nick Rolin from Dead Rabbit and BlackTail to thank for the inventive cocktail program and execution. The Tesla theme is carried throughout the speakeasy. If you were like us and didn’t know much about the history, the menu provides a fantastic introduction.
Tesla was one of the greatest inventors and engineers of all time. The menu really translates his accomplishments for those of us in the present day, indicating “the ‘waves’ which guided you here (GPS) and surround you now (WiFi) were envisioned by Tesla more than a century ago.” There’s even an electric car company named after the guy, so he’s certainly a big deal.
Patent Pending is certainly the kind of place that requires a reservation or knowing someone to get in. The bar is sleek and intimate. It’s ideal for a small group or a pair of individuals for post-work cocktails or a nightcap. It’s not the kind of place you would walk into with a large group for a rowdy evening. Cori Sue and I came on a Sunday night and found it bustling with patrons.
The menu is quite remarkable and divided into four categories that are Tesla-inspired, such as energy, frequency, vibration, and descent. If you have a short attention span, the menu is carefully sketched with detailed notes and descriptions of each offering. If you’re more intrigued you can flip the page and see the full description.
Cori Sue appropriately chose a cocktail from the energy section, described as lean and bright. The Strange Magic cocktail is suited for cautious drinkers, which is her drinking motto. The cocktail is light and bright, not to mention sweet and fruity. It’s just what she was in the mood for.
I asked the bartender to guide me. He chose from the frequency section, described as energetically infused and fit for a celebration. The cocktails from the frequency section are as intense as their origins. My choice, the Twain, is made with pear-infused tequila, gin, apple, lemon, and nutmeg. It’s described as if you’re walking through the woods during the summertime.
Cori Sue and I decided to share a few small plates along with our cocktails. The grilled cheese was satisfying, and the chips were addicting. For the next round of cocktails, Cori Sue decided to switch it up and go with a classic Aperol Spritz. The drink was stunning upon arrival and met her expectations.
Lastly, I decided to embark upon the descent category of cocktails. These drinks are described as darker, richer, and aimed for the adventurous. My tiki-style drink, the Current and Coils, was garnished with a banana leaf. It’s fit for the young at heart and is a twist on a classic malted milkshake. The rich flavored drink combines tropical flavors with rum, coconut, and malted milk. There’s so much more to the menu we have yet to explore. We’ll certainly be back for more.
Patent Pending is an inventive speakeasy that’s rooted in history, which flawlessly translates through killer cocktails in the cleverly concealed space.