KGB in the News

The Wall Street Journal

Taking a Mafia walking tour of New York with Meyer Lansky II

It would be an exaggeration to say that we considered Meyer Lansky, the notorious Jewish gangster who died in 1983, a member of the family. Then again, he wasn’t a total stranger either; family members made his memorable acquaintance while on vacation in Israel in the early 1970s.

I never got to meet him because, by that age, I was traveling on my own. But my mother and two younger brothers were staying at a resort hotel outside of Tel Aviv—no one seems able to conjure up the name of the place four decades later—where my siblings... ›› read more

The New Yorker

In 2001, James Wood, a professor at Harvard and, since 2007, a literary critic at this magazine, reviewed Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections,” somewhat harshly. Perhaps with a bit of irony (or maybe just because it sounds cool), it’s also the name of a torchy soul-rock group, with Wood on drums. The novelist Rebecca Donner is the lead vocalist, and the saxophonist Lily White, the bassist Gregory M. Jones, and the keyboardist Adam Klipple round out the ensemble when it plays on Nov. 14 in the Red Room at KGB Bar, a former speakeasy. No word on whether Franzen will be reviewing. (85 E. 4th St. ›› read more

The Daily Beast
Steve Earle at KGB

Singer/actor/activist talks midterm elections and sings a song

This past election night saw the return of the KGB Radio Hour at KGB Bar in New York City. Host Mark Jacobson brought together a panel that included former Congressman Anthony Weiner, music producer Danny Goldberg, and The Daily Beast’s own Michael Daly.

Singer/songwriter Steve Earle also joined the panel as KGB Radio Hour’s political commentator. The actor (The Wire, Treme) and activist made no bones about his political leanings, proclaiming himself “a real live lefty.” He offered his thoughts on President Obama, libertarianism and the importance of voting.

Earle also gave a short musical performance, which included this rendition of his own “Christmas in Washington.” ›› read more

The Wall Street Journal
Denis Woychuk, owner of the Red Room | Agaton Strom for The Wall Street Journal

New Speakeasy Opens Above KGB Bar

Speakeasy-type bars have been popping up all over New York in the past few years, but not all of them have direct ties to Lucky Luciano.

The Red Room, located on the third floor of a Lower East Side tenement where Luciano ran Palms Casino in the 1920s and '30s, aims to recreate that Prohibition-era ambience.

"I love the space because it is like a time machine. Everything down to the sconces is from the Prohibition era," said owner Denis Woychuk, who is also the man behind the KGB Bar downstairs in the same building.

The Red Room serves up classics (think dirty martinis and F. Scott Fitzgerald's drink of choice, the gin rickey) and classically inspired drinks.

The Cocksman is a fruity mixture of rum, triple sec, orange bitters and pineapple juice. Bartenders also mix up a vintage Dubonnet cocktail, featuring the popular 1920s mixer stirred with gin and a lemon twist (all $12).

The Red Room serves food courtesy of Piccola Strada, a small, family-owned Italian spot down the block. The bar... ›› read more

The New York Times
The Red Room at KGB Bar

NIGHT and day, New York reveals itself as the Art Deco capital of the world. I don’t mean just the obvious treasures — the Chrysler Building, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center — but the Deco surprises that decorate just about every other block.

This seems especially so nowadays, with the growing interest in 1920s and ‘30s bar culture. Some of the detail is original, and some is hauled in from other places. But on a dark and rainy night, hurrying along under your slick black umbrella, you can move from Deco bar to Deco bar, Deco club to Deco restaurant to Deco hotel lobby, and not even realize it’s 2014.

There are the soaring facade and interior of Eleven Madison Park, by some of the same architects who designed Rockefeller Center; Employees Only, an elegant 10-year-old West Village spot with a sophisticated menu and white-jacketed mixologists; the classic New Yorker Hotel in Midtown; the Flatiron Lounge, with its cobalt-blue mirrored wall and black velvet chairs that once belonged to Liza Minnelli; and Three Diamond Door, a new bar in... ›› read more