Prob is, it’s ten plus years since Milk & Honey respectfully resurrected the concept in NYC. Now, every Joe that owns a pub is cleaning out his storage basement, slapping up some gangster posters and calling it private. (while their FB page offers 2-for-1 Fridays and blows up your iPhone with promo texts)
Head to the North End – Boston’s version of Little Italy. Right on Hanover Street you’ll find Caffe Vittoria – the first Italian caffe opened in Boston in 1929. They continue to remain the highlight of Hanover with the best espresso and pastries in the city. (next to Mike’s and Bova’s of course) Right next door, down a set of narrow stairs, is Stanza dei Sigari – a cigar and hookah lounge of the same owners.
What you may not know is that Stanza was once part of Vittoria – and served as their speakeasy during Prohibition. Upon entering Stanza it appears to only be one small room – but walk around the corner and you’ll find another large area which forms a complete circle. Take a closer look and notice that there are many ways to get out of the circular haven – either to Vittoria or to the street above. This made it easy for patrons, and the banned liquor they craved, to secretly be smuggled in. And if the place was ever raided by police – most had a chance of escaping.
Stanza appears similar to how it would have looked in the 1930′s. Lots of leather chairs and private bench areas with curtains – the bar is inconspicuous and the service efficient with a rough edge. It’s mostly a male clientele, as it would have been in the past – many drowsily slumped back, catching up - a cigar in hand. It’s an authentic slice of history worth experiencing. (even if you don’t smoke)
And yes, there are photos of Capone and friends around the joint – but at least this time they may have actually been there.