Patent Pending – New York, New York - Gastro Obscura

Patent Pending

Nikola Tesla's former home contains an homage hidden from plain sight. 


Electrical inventor Nikola Tesla lived and experimented in Manhattan’s Gerlach Hotel in 1896. The landmark is now known as the Radio Wave Building, and it pays homage to Tesla’s influence through obvious means, such as its name and a commemorative plaque. It also houses a more latent tribute: the 34-seat, Tesla-themed speakeasy called Patent Pending.

According to Patent Pending’s website, “This is the building in which Nikola Tesla lived and performed his experiments on radio waves, transmitting them to his laboratory near present-day Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan. The ‘waves’ which guided you here (GPS) and surround you now (WiFi) were envisioned by Tesla more than a century ago.”

During the day, the building’s storefront cafe, Patent Coffee, serves pastries and espresso in plain sight. But at 5:00 p.m., the coffee shop becomes a front for a bar tucked behind the menu board wall. The walls, lighting, and menu design all reference Tesla, but Patent Pending’s craft concoctions, several of which include obscure ingredients, stand on their own. 

Ring the doorbell. There might be a wait, but there are no pretenses. Anyone is welcome in, should they be confident enough to approach a dark coffee shop with no evidence of nightlife inside. Once situated, you’ll be guided by a Tesla-themed menu divided into the categories: energy, frequency, vibration, and descent.

Know Before You Go

Patent Pending operates on a walk-in only basis from 5:00 p.m. to midnight Sunday to Wednesday and from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Thursday to Saturday.

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