Speakeasy disguised as locksmith shop opens in NYC
Come to get your key copied, stay for the $22 cocktail.
But actually don’t bring any lock-related issues to Keys & Heels because, despite the convincing weathered locksmith and shoe repair front, this Upper East Side bar is only in the business of slinging food and drink.
The limited food offerings include $12 pigs in a blanket, $20 salmon tartare cones and $12 homemade focaccia, and there’s also a full bar. The drinks menu is fronted by the two-part list of house cocktails ($18 to $22), followed by a limited selection of wine and three $9 beer options, and finished with the bottle service offerings ($175 to $425).
“I love the idea of maintaining something that is so visibly old New York,” restaurateur Massimo Lusardi told The Post of the inspiration for launching this spot. “I wanted something that could appear out of the blue one day, yet hides in plain sight.”
So far, the New York native says the disguise has worked.
“It’s often completely overlooked, as it looks so old people don’t even notice it’s new,” said Lusardi, who also launched the Italian restaurants Uva and Uva Next Door, both located adjacent to Keys & Heels on Second Avenue between 77th and 78th streets.
“I also wanted it to be about privacy and making the whole space feel like a private room,” he added. “Stepping through one thing and into another really transports you and allows room for the unpredictable.”
The privacy aspect proved not only good for creating an intimate atmosphere and aesthetic — but also for making Keys & Heels a prime location for semi-secret private holiday bashes during the Omicron COVID-19 variant’s reign over NYC this winter.
“It was because of the space we decided to have the party,” 25-year-old Andrea Van Melkebeke told The Post, crediting Keys & Heels secret entrance as the reason she chose it for her shindig during COVID’s third wave. “It’s very ’80s-lounge sexy, and we didn’t want to be at a bar with other people. We were able to keep the list down, we knew everyone was vaccinated and there were no strangers.’’
Keys & Heels had originally planned to open to the public in December, but due to the ongoing pandemic pushed its official opening to March. Walk-ins are now welcome Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. until late, and limited reservations can also be made online.
Those in need of an affordable cobbler can get ready to be badly disappointed, but anyone seeking a “whimsical yet sophisticated lounge” with a “flirtatious and seductive atmosphere” full of velvet, fringe, and industrial accents will surely find it, according to a press release.
Keys & Heels is located at 1488 2nd Ave. in Manhattan.