Had a splendid evening on Sunday at Gallow Green, the new rooftop bar above Sleep No More.
There's a kind of complicated ticketing reservation system, and perhaps not all of the kinks are worked out yet. As we arrived at the garden entrance, the doorman asked if we had a reservation (we did), scanned our IDs into an elaborate device, and checked us off on an ipad. We took a very dark elevator with one of Sleep No More's signature creepy (yet friendly) bellhops up to the almost-roof. The elevator was so dark and the bellhop so mysterious I wondered if something (SNM-ish) might happen, but nothing did. The elevator stops on 6, and you take stairs up the rest of the way. (I've a rumor heard people sometimes make it up to a usually-locked 6th floor during the show, so I was eager to see more up there, but it was well-guarded.)
A waiter calling us "love" led us to some seats and asked if we had a reservation (we did), and checked it off on an ipad, and then another waiter brought us the menu and asked if we had a reservation (we did!).
So far the menu has 4 or 5 cocktails and 4 kinds of punch. I tried a cocktail that I was very pleased with (pictured) but my husband was a bit let down by the Pimm's cup. Pimm's is a very British thing, and Pimm's Cup cocktails vary a lot by restaurant. The Gallow Green variation has white rum in it and a very ginger-y taste.
A thunderstorm rolled in, so we stuck around to wait out the rain. This meant we tried three out of the four punches, and they were all quite good. The "Sleep Bowmore" was certainly the booziest. I think I liked the second one best and can no longer remember what it was called - it had more of a Scotch-like flavor to it than the first punch. The Claret was also good, and more lightweight and refreshing if you don't like strong tasting drinks. There's red wine involved. I've made Claret cocktail variations at home in the past, but they were not as good as the Gallow Green punch.
A friend was going to join us but reported that tickets were sold out, but maybe they weren't sold out so much as not available the same day. There were plenty of seats left. I began to wonder if you actually needed a reservation or not.
The storm hit hard at one point, and half of the roof enclosure started leaking. A lot of patrons moved to the other half of the bar to avoid the rain, and a nice couple sat with us at our (relatively) dry table. My husband and I wound up opening up our umbrellas as we chatted with the other couple. They were interior designers by trade who had seen Sleep No More in part for the interior design and loved the show.
By coincidence, the lady was Russian, and had seen the Russian sci-fi film my husband wrote his thesis paper on, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker (based on the story "Roadside Picnic"). They asked how we met, and we explained it was through NYU and Columbia's respective science fiction clubs. They were fans of science fiction, but hadn't talked with anyone about sci-fi in ages. So we wound up having a conversation about Stalker, the X-Files, and Gattaca. I kind of wanted to talk more about Sleep No More, but whatever, they were super nice.
It was a kind of magic evening, the kind of New York magic described in one of Woody Allen's films (I can't remember which one), where it suddenly starts raining and you have to duck into a Manhattan doorway with strangers.
At least two waiters asked if we'd seen the show downstairs (we had). The fellow who waited on us the most said he usually worked at the bar downstairs, and sometimes played parts in the show, although when I asked which ones he gave a mysterious sidelong glance and didn't answer. I started to wonder about the other waiters, many of whom (as Thrillist put it) were "impossibly good looking". How many of them had been in the show...? How many of the bar patrons were involved in the show somehow...?
At least one other patron at the bar looked like one of the understudies I saw in the April Fools Day SNM show. (Although that could've been my imagination.) The waiter had also attended the April Fools Day show, as an audience member.
I found the bar's atmosphere tremendously relaxing, in part because the decor reminded me of my parents' old farm. A lot of the wood used in the decor has the color of our old barn, a color it took on after the paint had long ago washed off (like this color, that's our old chicken coup). Old gardening tools decorate the bathroom, which look uncannily like the old tools in the buildings around the farm (50 to 100 year old tools...).
The bill was not relaxing, however. There were no prices on the menu, so I suffered from some sticker shock. Also, the way the ticketing works is that you pay $20 per person to get in, and then the $20 is subtracted off your bill at the end. I thought the card I'd used for reservations would be swiped, but it wasn't, it turned out we got to pick. (Which required another "Do you have a reservation?")
Also it seemed as if not everything on tap was on the menu just yet. That is to say there were clearly beer taps, and a nearby table ordered beer, but no beer was listed on the menu. I heard a woman behind me order coffee, although that wasn't listed either. It didn't look as if they had wine just yet, but I didn't ask either.
I would totally go there again. The waitress said that eventually they plan to have food, even brunch. I can't emphasize enough how nice of a space it is. It looks perfect for corporate parties, or regular parties, or even a small wedding.