From the smoky speakeasies of Atlantic City’s backstreets to the opulent cocktail bars on the Boardwalk, there’s such a variety of locations in HBO’s premier Prohibition-era drama that any traveling fan could be forgiven for feeling a little lost on the trail. However, for the highest concentration of high-profile filming locations, we have to look to an altogether different metropolis. The bustling downtown districts of New York are peppered with authentic drink joints, Victorian homes and boutique shops that have provided a backdrop for the shady goings-ons of Atlantic City’s gangster elite since the series began. From VIP gentleman’s lounges and elaborate mansions of its most powerful characters to clandestine taverns and authentic ‘30s hideaways.
From outside, the Montauk Club may seem more like an architectural relic from the bygone age of 19th century gothic revivalism than an authentic backdrop for the smoky, shady and undercover dealings of Atlantic City’s political dignitaries. But inside, beneath the rich mahogany ceiling panels and elaborate chandeliers, Boardwalk Empire fans have seen many a moment of intrigue and drama unfold. Today, guests come to wonder at the magnificent adornments and dine in an atmosphere of unbridled elegance.
Remember the wide porches and magnificent Victorian façades that adorn the houses of the richest, most powerful and, often, most dangerous figures in Boardwalk Empire? Well, that’s Ditmas Park, a rich and thriving historical neighborhood in Flatbush, Brooklyn, famed for its wide boulevards, regal architecture and early-1900s appearance. Today, though, it’s perhaps less of the sleepy Atlantic City suburb that a fan of the series might expect, and more of a lively New York hub for artists, partiers and daytime café-goers.
The dark and imposing interior decorations at this men’s high fashion outlet in the heart of metropolitan Queens were among the main reasons for it being chosen to figure as the backdrop to some of Atlantic City’s shadier and less glitzy drinking joints. Pop in to check out the original wall features and see if you can recall which episode saw it transformed into a smoky speakeasy of Nucky’s boardwalk empire.
The bulging monstrosity of a candle that flickers and glows constantly in the backroom of this Italian Eatery was first lit to mark the monumental repealing of the 18th amendment way back in 1933. More recently, however, it figured in the background of a number of Boardwalk Empire scenes, perhaps most notably as the site of the covert dealings and dramatic revelations concerning New York strong man and Mafioso boss, Joe Masseria.
For this one you may need to cast your memory way back to season one, to a time when Mrs Thompson was Mrs Schroeder, and intermittent scenes took place in the proletariat guts of Atlantic City. But, unlike the Terrace’s role as a backdrop for the earthy and working-class peoples in the series, it’s modern appearance oozes with a classic Victorian charm, and visitors can see some of New York’s most authentic turn-of-the-century residential architecture.
It doesn’t get much grander than this, that’s for sure. The interior of New York’s National Arts Club has long been famed for its elaborate Victorian decoration, from the sparkling chandeliers to the deep oak wall panels that run through the whole interior. Such opulence made it the perfect location to play out some of the most dramatic and high-profile scenes in Boardwalk Empire – think Secretary of the Treasury high-profile!
The interior Veterans Room here should be instantly recognizable to any fan of the HBO series. It was used as the focal point of the opulent and sprawling home of the Grand Commodore Louis Kaestner. The room oozes with the regal charm and imposing Victorian styles that make it a perfect symbolic center for the power struggles of the Boardwalk, a conclave for the powerful and mighty where plans and backroom deals were hatched and honed.
This one’s the site of Nucky’s memorable speech to the Women’s Temperance League in series one, a moment of grand hypocrisy and near perfect historicity. Today, a visit here will unearth more than just an iconic Boardwalk filming spot, though, and guests are treated to a tour of the authentic late 19th-century grounds, which contain North America’s first officially established kindergarten.