Ever since moving to NYC, I’ve loved tracking down its speakeasies – whether it’s one behind a secret door in a Japanese restaurant, through a phone booth in a hotdog store or down an alleyway for cocktails in teacups. They’re quirky and fun and our little secret. So when I found out that a pizza speakeasy, SRO, had snuck into town earlier this year, I was keen to find it.
I actually wasn’t expecting much. I thought the whole ‘speakeasy’ thing would just be a gimmick for pretty standard pizza. In fact, the food is phenomenal – and their whole set up was just really enjoyable.
But first, let’s get to the basics: Finding it.
SRO is on the Bowery between 2nd and 3rd Streets. When you pass the building you see a sign in an otherwise blackened-out window reading ‘Vacancy’ or ‘No Vacancy’ to indicate whether or not you’ll be able to get a seat inside. (We’d reserved online and easily managed to get the slot we wanted, but I’d advise booking because every table was taken.)
You enter through Espoleta, a tapas bar next door, and reach SRO through an inconspicuous door in the wall.
SRO, which stands for Single Room Occupancy, is a skinny strip with about 10 tables and a pizza oven at one end. It’s intimate — perfect for a date or a few glasses of wine with friends.
Its menu changes every day and you’d better go with an appetite: for $38, you get an appetizer, a personal pizza, dessert, one drink (such as beer or wine) and a glass of dessert wine. For the price, you get a good amount of food and drink, but it’s either the full menu or nothing.
This narrows down your options, yes, but I have zero complaints about the food, which was simple and delicious. Their specialty is a pizza that’s flash-fried before it’s cooked and honestly, I have not stopped thinking about it ever since. So rich and tasty, and a generous size for one person.
I know the whole ‘speakeasy’ part seems like a gimmick — look on Google and it’s not that tough to find. But it does make SRO stand out among a swath of pizza places — after all, ‘speakeasy’ is what encouraged me to go. But the food is really, really good. The pizza was different from any I’ve had in the city, and the place has great ambience. I’ll be going back.
So if you can find it, I’d recommend a trip!
You can find SRO at 334 Bowery. For information on how to book, visit its website. The restaurant opens at 5pm every day and closes at 11pm Mon-Weds, 12am Thurs-Sat and 10.30pm Sunday.