One of the things that makes New York unique is its long list of speakeasys around the city. At any given moment you could be walking over, below, or around one! They’re fun to find, great to show your friends, and always have a unique experience inside.
Here’s a few favorites!
Like the former Bleecker Heights Tavern it replaced, The Garret is still hidden above the West Village Five Guys (accessible through a stairwell past the burger counter), but unlike BHT, The Garret is a party/cocktail spot decked out like your artist uncle’s loft. Also: it’s got exclusive Five Guys burgers!
Lower East Side
Underneath Schapiro’s is Nitecap, operated by the team behind Death & Co (which misses this list for being too damn famous and not particularly hidden). Nitecap is doing the whole hidden-bar thing with less formality and way more fun. The “It’s All Good” cocktail with gin, ancho cappelletti, blood orange & lemon juice, and sparkling wine? Totally more fun.
The Blind Barber
Alphabet City and Williamsburg
The Williamsburg location inverts things by putting the cafe and bar up front, but the original still has the back room hidden behind the barber shop, where they do creative cocktails like the Smoke & Dagger with bourbon, jalapeño-infused Combier, lemon juice, cucumber, and ginger, or the embarrassingly utility-belt-less Batman with gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, Peychaud’s, and mint.
Apotheke is located down Doyers St (aka, “The Bloody Angle” or “Murder Alley”), and while going here probably won’t get you hatched anymore, it will get your liver appropriately murdered, thanks to excellently fussed-over cocktails in categories like “stimulants” and “aphrodisiacs”, with ingredients picked from their rooftop garden. Also, the space is just really cool: old-school vials, prescriptions, and speakeasy trappings abound.
This hidden Cuban rum house, located above Amor y Amargo, is the spot for excellent punches. Try the nine-person-serving Royal Isla Punch with Barbancourt 4Yr, guava, lychee, orgeat, and a splash of soda, one of the tropical drinks like a classic daiquiri, or the shareable plates in a colorful setting that’s part-birdcage and part-mansion parlor.
Sure, like Death & Co, this place is one of the most famous bars in the world now. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s hidden behind a phone booth in Crif Dogs, which is still totally awesome the first time you do it, and meets the requisite barriers for entry to make this place still somewhat-secret.
Raines Law Room
Find the unmarked door, press the buzzer, and hope there’s no wait for a table, so you can immediately start quaffing cocktails by expert cocktailer Meaghan Dorman, who’s also responsible for the semi-hidden (and totally excellent) Lantern’s Keep in Midtown.
Tucked behind the Stone Street Coffee Company on 9th Ave, BG has all the makings of a rowdy speakeasy, including an actual bath tub in the center that you may or may not end up in by night’s end (you will).
Lower East Side
Located behind a toy store, this ’20s-style speakeasy (which claims to be in the same spot as an actual speakeasy from the ’20s) serves its booze in teacups. Plus, on Mondays, you can head over for “Speakeasy Dollhouse”, an interactive & immersive theater performance that promises “revolving bookshelves, mystery, and intrigue”.
Head to Village Yokocho, find a secret door off of the dining room, and head upstairs to the main attraction: one of the best whiskey bars in the city.
This favorite spot — located behind a fake psychic — is known for its late-night eats (burgers and bone marrow poppers at 3:30am? Nice!) and next-level mixology from pedigreed bartenders making drinks like the Mata Hari: Cognac shaken with chai-infused vermouth and pomegranate juice.
Behind a bookshelf-painted door inside Brooklyn Heights restaurant Chez Moi and down some stairs you’ll find this Marie Antoinette-inspired bar appropriately decked out with dark leather banquettes, lots of antiques, and even a bronze bust of Antoinette herself, which is used as the tap for beers on draft.
Part of the Milk & Honey family (M&H isn’t on the list because, like Death & Co, it’s very famous and you no longer need a secret number at its new spot), Little Branch is underground behind an unmarked metal door, which’ll lead you to the kind of expertly crafted and intensively labored-over cocktails you’d expect from one of the best spots in the city.