Over the holidays, a unique new downtown establishment opened quietly, as a speakeasy should. Located in the newly rehabbed Oliver Hotel on Union, just off Market Square, Peter Kern's Library—don't ever call it a "bar"—opened in the space that was the former hotel's library. There's no password, but there's no sign, either: You have to know it's behind the big sliding door in back of the lobby. You'll find yourself in an oblong room with a large portrait of Peter Kern, builder of this former bakery/confectionary on one end, and a gas fireplace on the other.
The drink menus, artfully concealed in old World Book Encyclopedias, offer more than a dozen specialty drinks, some originals, all named for characters in fiction. The Jabberwocky, for example, is a concoction of gin and real egg white.
A secret entrance from the alley is almost ready for the extra-furtive. Secrecy comes with a price—the going rate for a drink at the PKL is $9.