In the basement a classy 1904 apartment house on 54th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue — on the street where Frank Loesser’s ‘Guys and Dolls’ played their games — is one of their refuges, now called Flute. In Damon Runyon’s short stories about the 1920s Broadway scene, a nightclub operator, “Miss Missouri Martin” was a character based on Texas Guinan, the actual operator of this authentic, unchanged speakeasy. Flute is the real deal and a time capsule, to boot.
It serves me as the rendezvous point with lovely Sasha, whom I take to watch Alvin Ailey’s Dance Company perform at City Center, just a block or so away. She and I sip Champagne Mojitos, arriving at the performance just in the nick of time.
Slink down the sidewalk stairwell of a dozen iron steps, turn left into the low-ceilinged, dimly lit room — romantic, mysterious — let your eyes adjust then ask for an alcove, a lover’s alcove where you can drink Flute’s champagne potions and contemplate the magical positions that being in a lover’s alcove tends to generate. No one will see you.
Flute has Champagne Happy Hours (Tuesday, until 8pm) during which all drinks, including champagne, are half price, and live jazz Wednesdays, 7-10pm.
Oh—on another historical note, Studio 54 was located across Broadway, just one block away, on the other side of the street.