It looks like an ordinary New York hotdog shop. And in many ways it is an ordinary New York hotdog shop: great food, cold PBRs, friendly company. But Crif Dogs on the East Village’s iconic St Mark’s Place holds a secret. Step into the phone booth at the back of the shop and dial 1 – just once, not twice – and you’ll be invited into a completely different world.
This is Please Don’t Tell, a classic, reservation-only throwback to the speakeasies of America’s prohibition period. Created by bartender Jim Meehan, Please Don’t Tell is now under the command of his lauded friend Jeff Bell, 2013’s Diageo World Class US Bartender Of The Year. Together the pair has turned Please Don’t Tell into one of the world’s most famous cocktail bars, a place that has remained one of New York’s hottest bars since opening eight years ago. It's on every serious list of great drinking experiences, and Meehan's recently published PDT Cocktail Book has been described as "a guide that is essentially the next century’s singular snapshot of today’s cocktail renaissance."
The PDT concept is one that’s about to make the trip down under, thanks to a relationship struck up with Melbourne’s Black Pearl. “Please Don’t Tell has a massive reputation,” says Black Pearl’s Nathan Beasley. “It’s one of the speakeasy bars that made everyone in the world sit up and take notice.”
Please Don’t Tell and Black Pearl have been brought together by World Class, both venues jumping at the opportunity to collaborate. “PDT and Black Pearl share a similar ethos,” Beasley says. “So it was a no brainer when we were approached to be involved. “Black Pearl and Please Don’t Tell have many mutual friends and similar thoughts on making great drinks and great experiences for the public.”
This won’t be Melbourne’s first secretive drinking den. But Please Don’t Tell’s reputation means it has almost become a concept unto itself, and speaks to the current craze for “Barception” – referencing the 2010 Christopher Nolan film, Inception, and its concept of dreams within dreams. “Melbourne is more than ready for a bar within a bar,” Beasley says.
Black Pearl’s take on Please Don’t Tell will be a short-lived affair, taking over the Fitzroy establishment’s upstairs weekend bar, The Attic, for just four nights during this month’s Top Shelf Festival. Please Don’t Tell’s Jeff Bell and Jim Meehan will make the trip for the event, The Attic styled just so to, “make sure the boys feel right at home,” Beasley says.
New York’s Please Don’t Tell event at the Black Pearl is now booked out.