We Gussied Up and Went to the Tony Awards’ Exclusive Speakeasy—Here’s What It Was Like

For the first time, the Tony Awards took place at the Lincoln Center’s intimate David H. Koch Theater this year. But for an even cozier experience, the VIPs of Broadway’s biggest night headed to Baccarat and Basil Hayden’s cabinet of curiosities inside the venue.

The French crystal manufacturer and the whiskey label teamed up for a luxe speakeasy right outside the auditorium, accessible by only the night’s nominees, presenters, and their assorted entourages. Given the tight quarters, you couldn’t help but brush shoulders with the who’s who of Broadway and Hollywood—from the Tony’s host, Ariana DeBose, to Miranda Priestly herself, Anna Wintour. (And yes, a Devil Wears Prada musical is in the works.)

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Billy Porter snaps a pic with Taraji P. Henson
Billy Porter snaps a pic with Taraji P. Henson.

While sipping on Basil Hayden 75s (a twist on the French 75) and Baccarat Boulevardiers, celebs worked the room, meeting up with longtime friends and new pals alike. Taraji P. Henson, one of the presenters, mingled with Wintour before cozying up with Billy Porter for a selfie. Jessica Lange, the grand dame of acting, may have been one of the hottest commodities: She also schmoozed with Porter and was then spotted with some of the screen and stage’s most notable leading men—Jeremy Strong, Eddie Redmayne, Nick Jonas, and Andrew Rannells all confabbed with her.

The speakeasy was a welcome respite from the larger awards ceremony and was a quieter locale to grab a drink. (The line for the regular concessions booth snaked down the hallway, although the one for mini Shake Shack milkshakes was notably much shorter.) Baccarat and Basil Hayden understood the assignment, with Broadway-like touches including a massive chandelier, a parrot sitting on a table, and a peacock in the corner. The bar beautifully matched the energy of the evening, as well as the stars who were there to celebrate their achievements.

The bar setup
The bar setup

Although the speakeasy closed up shop a couple of hours before the awards ceremony ended, the party continued across the Lincoln Center plaza and at various afterparties throughout New York City. At the official gathering, though, celebs were greeted with even more booze, plus Shack Shack burgers and a full-on steakhouse buffet (steak, shrimp, potatoes, creamed kale, and more). Altogether, it was a classic New York evening—with a surprise Jay-Z performance and a Hillary Clinton appearance to boot.

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