Hidden bars with password entry and only known by word-of-mouth, the speakeasy concept has been around since the 1920’s and though the modern interpretation is a little less illegal, the concept is still super cool. We’ve rounded up six of the best hidden bars around the world, but first, a history lesson…
There’s a reason The Great Gatsby era is known as the roaring twenties and if the book is anything to go by, F. Scott Fitzgerald painted the period as one big party. Despite the celebratory atmosphere however, America was under Prohibition between 1920-1933 - that is, a nationwide constitutional ban enforced on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages - but that didn’t stop establishments from serving, it just gave birth to the ‘speakeasy’.
Almost 100 years later the speakeasy is still kicking - sans illegal activity - and though some would say the concept has been done to death, here at Boutiq, the whole ‘no signage/secret password/hidden entry’ thing speaks to the wannabe James Bond in all of us. So, whether you prefer your cocktails shaken or stirred, we’ve done the hard yards to find the best hidden bars so you don’t have to.
Via Crif Dogs
113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009, United States
New York City
With the regular condiments, the neon signs and the giant dagwood emblazoned with the words ‘Eat Me’ hanging over the entrance, Crif Dogs is an East Village hot dog joint like any other. But enter the vintage phone booth inside the tiny shop front, pick up the receiver and dial, and a host will grant you access into one of the concrete jungle’s hidden gems, PDT, aptly short for Please Don’t Tell.
With a menu of next level cocktails served with gourmet dagwoods straight from the Crif Dog’s kitchen, PDT’s Jim Meehan has concocted close to 200 original cocktails in his day. Like many speakeasies, the space is small, making it a perfect (and impressive) date spot, or just an all round fun location for an intimate night out with friends. Be warned, this venue is pretty popular and you’ll need to make a reservation beforehand by calling after 3pm on the day you plan to visit.
Via State of Grace
477 Collins St, Melbourne
From street level, State of Grace is a Collins St. eatery and bar with a European feel, but the real magic lies beneath the surface. Take an Alice in Wonderland style journey down a marble staircase accessed through a sliding bookshelf and there you’ll find Fall From Grace, a chic, dimly lit cellar bar with chandeliers, lavish velvet lounges and a cocktail and wine list well worth the ‘fall’.
199 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW
A black door with three painted skulls might sound like a warning sign, but when it comes to hidden bars, sometimes you’ve gotta live on the edge. The entrance to Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern is tucked away just across the road from Sydney’s Hyde Park and the venue’s vintage decor, comfy booths and extensive beverage list makes for a mighty good time.
Run by Sebastian Soto and Charlie Lehmann (originally of Baxter Inn) and Darden Shervashidze (of Frankie's Pizza), it takes a little searching to find this cosy joint, but the hunt is all part of the fun!
777 G St., San Diego
You’ll find this secret bar inside San Diego restaurant, Neighborhood (also worth the visit) and we’d just like to mention that the journey to access this secret bar will be one of the most interesting trips to the bathroom you’ve ever taken!
A stack of kegs next to Neighborhood’s restroom is in fact a hidden door through which you’ll discover a dimly lit bar with a gaudily gothic aesthetic. Think Rembrant-inspired paintings, chandeliers and an entire wall of brass skulls and you’ve got The Noble Experiment!
Just be sure to make a reservation beforehand as this one is often booked out weeks in advance!
167-21 Yamada, Abuta District, Hokkaido Prefecture 044-0081, Japan
The snowy Japanese town of Niseko is home to over 50 bars and restaurants, but all that choice doesn’t deter us from pursuing the hard-to-find venue that is Gyu Bar. Located in the lower village ‘neath a snow bank sits the entrance, a red freezer door, partially concealed by snow depending on the time of year. Inside you’ll find vintage turntables belting out jazz tunes, Japanese whiskey and a trendy crowd of locals and foreigners in town for ski season. Sounds like the perfect place to escape the elements and let’s be honest, any excuse for a whiskey will do!
Via The Breakfast Club
12-16 Artillery Lane
Take a trip to The Breakfast Club branch in Spitalfields, London and once you’ve finished dinner we recommend asking the staff to ‘speak to the Mayor’. You’ll be taken downstairs to a classic SMEG fridge and whilst the mayor is unlikely to be inside said fridge, you’ll instead find a secret entrance to speakeasy bar, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. This kitschy venue serves up American-style diner food and killer cocktails. Did we mention the 1920’s style decor? Prohibition-style drinking at its finest!
What are you still doing here? Channel your inner 007, grab your friends and hit the town with this list of secret bars up your sleeve!
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