It’s not too many bars that have their very own poem, penned by Walt Whitman, no less, but the Vault at Pfaff’s, opening September 9, is inspired by some untitled lines of the poet’s. (Maybe there’s a reason they’re untitled. First line: “The vault at Pfaff’s where the drinkers and laughers eat and drink and carouse.") The basement space — but don’t call it a speakeasy — was a beer cellar opened by one Charles Pfaff in 1855, and allegedly a hang of literary and artistic types including Whitman himself. Furthering the Bohemian theme, food and drink menus are printed on paper inspired by a countercultural newspaper called the Saturday Press.
Speaking of, chef Jaime Suarez has already been cooking upstairs at Corner Shop Cafe, and for the vault he’s created a menu of upscale fare like lamb chops and salmon tartare. Cocktails have old-school literary names (Twain’s Thyme, St. Henry) and are riffs on classic quaffs. Less Bohemian are the staff uniforms custom-designed by Project Runway alum Christian Siriano. Scope our slideshow to see the elegant, old-timey space, which holds 150 people, and features a century-old oak bar and original granite ceilings, plus a "vault" room that can be reserved for private parties. And while you’re at it, check out the menus below.
The Vault at Pfaff’s, 643 Broadway, at Bleecker St.; 212-253-5421