History on

Madam Polly Adler

More than a century ago, in the bustling city of
New York, lived a woman named Polly Adler.
She was a remarkable figure, known for her wit,
charm, and entrepreneurial spirit. While Polly was
born into a modest Russian family, she had anything
but modest dreams, and possessed an insatiable desire
for success. Sent to America in 1913 by her family at
the tender age of 13 to escape “The Great War”
Ms. Adler’s ambitions grew with her, as she ultimately
set her sights the truly lucrative venture for which
she’d come to be known.

Debby Adler with backdrop for photo shoots

The Roaring 20’s! The Age of The American
Prohibition! Where most saw the end of an era,
Polly saw opportunity! At only 20 years old,
Ms. Adler broke into the nefarious world of
bootlegging, speakeasies and all manner of illicit
activity. Opening her own high-end bordello, Polly’s
girls catered to the desires and fancies of the wealthy
and influential. Polly’s emporium was unlike any other,
draped in elegance, valuing discretion above all else.

As Polly’s business thrived, she came to be known as
the “Madam of New York.” Going against the grain of
her competition, Polly believed in empowering women,
and provided her girls with the opportunity to become
financially independent.

As the years went by, Polly became a prominent
figure in Manhattan’s society, rubbing shoulders with
politicians, celebrities, and even Mafiosos! Adler was
respected by all she met, her reputation for discretion
always preceding her. Unfortunately, as can befall any
empire built on the fringes of legality, Polly’s success
caught the attention of the law.

a girl holding her hair looking pretty

In 1943 Ms. Adler was arrested and charged with the running of a brothel. Polly endured a lengthy trial, but her charisma, and the overwhelming loyalty of her employees, earned her the jury’s sympathy. Though Polly was ultimately acquitted, the ordeal of the trial had taken a heavy toll.

By the close of 1945, “The Madam of New York” decided to retire. Adler anticipated the changing times, as the world move away from fostering the illicit activities upon which she’d once thrived. Polly did however publish a best selling memoir “A House is Not a Home”, which sold over two million copies!

Polly’s pays homage to an incredible woman’s life! Polly Adler beat an unfair game by changing it’s rules, reinventing a means for young women to support themselves. Polly’s embodies the best of what Ms. Adler’s venues would have had to offer, subtle decadence, delicious libations, and a raucous good time! On behalf of the Polly’s family, we welcome you to share in the frivolity!

About Us...

Polly's New Speakeasy

Polly's NYC is not just a bar or a restaurant; it is a hidden gem in the heart of Midtown West, offering a unique speakeasy experience beneath the more visible Tanner Smith's.

The entrance, disguised as a sitting room, hints at the venue’s nod to the prohibition era, suggesting an intimate, perhaps even secretive, atmosphere where patrons can step back in time.

polly's entrance black door with flowers on the ceiling
large room seating area with lots of picture frame on the wall

As a hidden speakeasy, Polly’s NYC likely relies on word of mouth and the allure of discovery to attract its clientele. This exclusivity and the thrill of finding a hidden spot in the bustling city contribute significantly to its appeal. Patrons might share their experiences on social media or review sites, highlighting the quality of the drinks, the uniqueness of the setting, and the overall atmosphere, but always with a nod to the need for discretion and the joy of uncovering one of the city’s hidden treasures.

vintage room with lamps on top of long bar

Seductively Delicious