NYC's First Dry Speakeasy Is Hidden Behind An East Village Cafe

New York is in the middle of a non-alcoholic revolution. With NA bottle shops like Minus Moonshine and Boisson and dry bars like Hekate and Getaway offering new options for people who don't drink or are looking to reduce their drinking, it's a wonder that it's taken this long for NYC to get its very first non-alcoholic speakeasy.

Hidden behind a shelf of coffee beans in the tiny East Village coffee shop Cafe Joah is a secret door that leads to Fat Tiger. With walls patterned with tiger wallpaper, "Live Fat" neon sign above a DJ booth, and a disco ball shaped like a cartoon cat, the vibe is fun and sexy, ideal for impressing a date or enjoying a work happy hour. The spot is so underground that it's not even on Google, so you have to know exactly where you're going to find it — and it's worth taking the trip.

"Our space is an Art Deco and Asian jungle-inspired speakeasy offering a unique NYC experience that helps to create a sense of adventure and exploration," owner Cliff Cho told Tasting Table. "We're looking to attract people who are open-minded and appreciate good drinks, food, and music."

Crafting NA cocktails with customers in mind

The bar originally opened as Fat Buddha in 2010 but was reimagined as Fat Tiger in mid-March of 2023. They carry about three dozen non-alcoholic products, including Everleaf nature-inspired spirits, French Bloom NA sparkling wine, and Lyre's Italian Orange. 

The Beverage Director, Andres Cabrera, mentions that their goal is to "elevate the sober experience" through carefully curated beverage options and that they refuse to serve products they don't fully believe in. "Most mocktails are all juice and sugar. There's little to no effort. It's disrespectful to those who want to enjoy a nice cocktail without the cons of consuming alcohol," Cabrera told Tasting Table. 

"I create dry cocktails that are well-balanced, look well put together, taste great, and a lot of the time make you feel good about what you are putting into your body." Cabrera's inventive cocktails include an ashwagandha-infused take on an espresso martini called the Espresso Joah and a zero-proof Old Fashioned (or "No Fashioned") made with everything bagel simple syrup called the Stop Plain.

"Ultimately, we're trying to set a great vibe and an ideal option for people to 'go out' without the pressure of having to consume alcohol. We are a safe space where we cater to those who do not drink, want to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume, or people who are completely sober," says Cho.