World-renowned restaurant brand Serafina has moved into Hell’s Kitchen — and the new Serafina in the Sky has an unlisted speakeasy tucked away behind its velvet curtains on W42nd Street.
Known for European flair, impeccable service, high-profile clientele, and loyal regulars, Serafina Restaurant Group is the brainchild of Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, good friends who got stranded at sea together and vowed to open an Italian restaurant if they survived. Many decades and successful locations later, Assaf and Granato have opened Serafina in the Sky at the Pod Times Square, a polished, luxe-hostel style hotel.
Teaming up with Karim Amatullah, the veteran nightlife producer behind Halo, Hue, Bed, and Cipriani Upstairs, Assaf and Granato have created a bonus wing of Serafina in the Sky. Called UnPublished, it’s a speakeasy and throwback to “the bygone days of undisclosed partying” that’s positioned to draw in curious revelers to the Pod. There’s only one catch — you have to know exactly where you’re going, as the speakeasy is hidden behind a velvet curtain with no publicly listed info on how to get behind it.
“After so long of not being to see friends and indulge in a night out, we feel the time is right to offer New York City a little reminder of how great nightlife can be,“ says Granato. “UnPublished and Serafina in the Sky will offer fabulous options for any sort of gathering or night out, from a quiet cocktail with a friend to a group celebration.”
According to the press release, “To make reservations, guests must obtain and call a ghost number, privy to a small few. Less connected guests can try their luck at the door.”
For the Less Connected among us, there is some explanation behind the shroud of mystery — as Amatullah says: “Almost every project I’ve been involved in has been a bit hard to find… going all the way back to the re-launch of Tavern on the Green. They’ve all been exceptional and hard to get into, but glamour, energy and attitude lift many ropes and open many doors. UnPublished is no different.”
If you do find your way past the door — “we can’t make any promises,” said the press release — you’ll be welcomed into a wood-paneled and velvet, 70s disco-style lounge designed by Dimitri Hyacinthe (behind the interiors at PM, Bijoux, and Provocateur) complete with a terrace for cocktails over W42nd Street. Borrowing from Serafina’s well-reviewed menu, the lounge will offer elevated charcuterie plates, Italian guacamole and crostini appetizers as well as new additions such as Pinsa Roman-style pizza, burrata and caviar, and seasonal chef-curated dishes.
Serafina in the Sky and UnPublished take the place of the COVID-shuttered Tiki Bar, The Polynesian (whose stylish host Henry Cordova was once profiled in W42ST with his pet pig). The layout of The Polynesian and its outdoor tiki bar overlooking Times Square mirror the new venue’s footprint.
Ahead of its opening, Serafina in the Sky and UnPublished hosted a New York Fashion Week and Superbowl Pre-Game Party celebrating luxury activewear brand KORAL and supermodel Martha Hunt, as well as a private dinner hosted by New York City-based publication Guest of a Guest and model Rachel Hilbert.
If you find yourself spinning in circles and no closer to getting into UnPublished, there are a few other nearby speakeasies. Head to perennial favorite The McKittrick Hotel (530 W27th St between 10/11th Ave) for the return of their speakeasy meets Shakespeare immersive production Sleep No More, their new magic show hosted by acclaimed magician Todd Robbins, or a moody cocktail at Manderley Bar or Gallow Green. Try Bar Centrale (324 W46th St — west of 8th Ave), an apartment-turned bar known to host spontaneous appearances from off-duty Broadway stars, or Dear Irving on Hudson, tucked into the Aliz Hotel (310 W40th St — west of 8th Ave). Hop over to Dutch Fred’s (307 W47th St between 8/9th Ave) or Dolly Varden (302 W51st St — west of 8th Ave) for speakeasy vibes without passwords.
And if you do manage to sneak past the velvet curtain at Serafina in the Sky to UnPublished, send us a tip on how to get in — or at the very least, have a cocktail in honor of the Less Connected!
Serafina in the Sky is at 400 W42nd Street in the Pod Hotel. Check their website for details of restaurant and bar opening times.