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Taste Of The Town: Employees Only Adds Modern Twist To 1930s Speakeasies

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tucked between five art deco buildings that comprise the Washington Park Hotel on Collins Avenue between 10th and 11th Street, you’ll find a hideaway with no signage out front called “Employees Only” – and that’s exactly what they wanted.

“We are a prohibition design speakeasy, so if you wanted to provide alcohol in the 1930s, you had to have something in front of you. For us, our signature is a psychic,” said Granville Adams, Partner of Employees Only. “So when people walk by they don’t see the restaurant name they don’t see ‘Employees Only,’ there’s just this psychic.”

And the name?

“Whenever you go out anywhere, you see a sign that says ‘employees only’ and this sign keeps you out. You think I can’t go in there it’s for ‘employees only.’ And since we are a bar that caters to industry people, we wanted to show people exactly what happens on other side of the sign behind the red curtain,” Adams explained.

Behind the red curtain, it’s a throwback in time to a classic ‘30s bar and dining spot with a modern twist.

Employees Only was started by five bartenders who wanted to create a place where people in the industry could come and enjoy themselves after work. They could walk in and the music would be great, the service great and the cocktails would be fantastic.

Employees Only began in NYC, another in Singapore. Miami Beach is the third location for the speakeasy recognized as one of the top cocktail bars in the world. The bartenders go through rigorous training and are considered “bar chefs”.

Employees Only doesn’t even open until 9 p.m., serving both a dinner menu and late night menu.

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo begins her “tasting’ with their ricotta gnocchi made with ricotta cheese, English pea pesto and shitake mushrooms.

“It’s a warm comfort food, super soft and the ricotta gives it a nice tenderness. The pesto gives it fun kick,” said Petrillo.

A favorite on the late night menu is the steak tartar mixed at the table. It’s hand-cut filet mignon with roasted tomato, Dijon mustard and many other secret ingredients, including EO’s homemade hot sauce.

“The lemon gives it a fun flavor and I taste the subtleness of the shallots, and the meat is so fresh and tender. What I love about it is that’s it’s cold,” Petrillo said.

There’s delicious bacon-wrapped lamb chops topped with pesto and anchovies.

But the motherlode of meat is a 26-ounce rib eye steak, seasoned with sea salt and pepper and cooked to perfection.

“This rib eye is so tender and delicious, it’s such a pleasure. It could feed a few people at 26 ounces, but if you’re hungry go for it!” joked Petrillo, while digging in.

Employees Only – it’s welcome to the public, but you’ll feel like you’ve  gone behind the velvet curtain  for an exclusive experience that’s a bit of a sassy throwback in time.

EO is opened seven days a week serving dinner and a late night menu until 4:30 a.m.

For more info: EmployeesOnlyMiami.com.

More from Lisa Petrillo
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