There are endless hidden gems to discover in New York City, you just have to know where to look.
While there are plenty of speakeasies across the city we’ve narrowed our list down to the best fifteen. From back rooms that were actually around in the 1920’s to new interpretations of what a speakeasy was like during the Prohibition era, here are some of our favorite spaces we think everyone has to try at least once. We’ve even added a map at the bottom to make finding a quaint and swanky bar near you that much easier!
Where: 1442 1st Avenue (UES)
Above the well-known 2nd Ave Deli is this cute speakeasy appropriately named 2nd Floor. Here, not only is the food kosher but so are the drinks! Cocktail ingredients are inspired by the Jewish deli it sits above, like their Man-O-Manischewitz drink which is made with Manischewitz syrup or their Upper Eastsider which features celery soda.
Where: 134 Eldridge Street (LES)
Formerly known as Milk & Honey, the bar on 134 Eldridge Street has been reinvented as Attaboy since 2012. With no menu to pick a cocktail from you’ll have to tell the bartender what you’re in the mood for and trust that they’ll whip up the perfect drink for you.
Where: 8 Stuyvesant Street (East Village)
A personal favorite, this speakeasy is even more beautiful during the winter when you can sit in the warmth as you watch the snow fall just outside the window. Angel’s Share has a cozy atmosphere behind an unmarked wooden door inside the East Village Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho. Each drink is unique, and all are worth trying; like the April in Paris (sauterne, St. Germain, champagne vinegar, tomato water, and lemon) or the Bitches Brew (Irish whiskey based homemade bitter chocolate, liqueur, hot milk, madagascar vanilla cream, and star anise). To get in you’ll climb the stairs up to the restaurant and look for a wooden door to your left.
Where: 64 West 36th Street (Garment District)
Paying homage to the tailor’s fitting room that once resided here Bo Peep is a cocktail and piano bar with plenty of red velvet seats. The bar itself was made from the tailor’s table and they serve up fun cocktails with names like “Cat’s Meow,” “Chinatown Mystery,” and “Dillinger Escape Plan.”
Where: 86 Bedford Street (Greenwich Village)
The reservations-only cocktail bar was once an actual speakeasy when it opened during the Prohibition, in 1922. However, after the roof collapsed in 2007 the space did not reopen until nearly a decade later. Now you can go there for dinner and drinks or a quaint weekend brunch.
Where: 27-24 Jackson Ave (LIC)
This Long Island City spot isn’t exactly hidden, but you’ll still enjoy the same speakeasy vibes you’d get at any of the other bars on this list. Write on the chalkboard bartop as you sip on one of the fun cocktails they make, like the Commonwealth Highball (which is made with scotch whisky, house-made ginger syrup, maraschino, and lemon juice). You’ll find this bar right under the neon light that simply says “BAR”.
Where: 510 Hudson Street (Greenwich Village)
In this West Village hidden behind a psychic’s reading den is the speakeasy known as Employees Only. Have your future read for $25 and then head to the bar for a drink (and some food, too). Their drink menu is longer than most speakeasies, so you won’t run out of things to try. Look for a neon sign that says “PSYCHIC”, a tarot card reader, and walk through the curtain doorway to enter the bar.
Where: 19 West 31 Street (Midtown)
Beneath the Life Hotel is now a historic speakeasy serving up fabulous cocktails. Gibson & Luce is the not-so-new bar that opened beneath the lobby.The hotel was once the Life magazine headquarters, and below it (in the space that’s now the bar) was where the journalists would go to do their drinking.
Where: 135 Atlantic Avenue (Brooklyn Heights)
Inspired by the private chambers of Marie Antoinette, Le Boudoir serves of fabulous cocktails like their Dauphin (which is made with absinthe, chile liqueur, almond milk, coconut, cacao nibs) in it’s rococo-styled space. They also host live music every Monday.
Manhattan Cricket Club
Where: 226 West 79th Street (Upper West Side)
Above Burke & Wills on the UWS, this bar is an intimate space that replicates a 1870s apartment. The speakeasy has a few rules and a dress code “in keeping with tradition of formal clubs from eras gone by,” as they put it. Soem of the cocktail names are elaborate, like the “I Think I’m Turning Japanese, I Really Think So” (which features Nikka Taketsuru pure malt whisky, yuzu Japanese citrus, cardamom), and the “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” (featuing Jefferson’s bourbon, honey, pecan orgeat, egg white, lemon, krupnik bitters).
Where: 49 West 27th Street (Chelsea)
Patent Coffee is a neighborhood cafe by day, but once evening comes the shop transforms into a dark, candle-lit decoy. Hiding behind an unassuming door in the back is Patent Pending—a swanky speakeasy in an old cellar of the Radio Wave Building. The speakeasy takes on a radio-theme to match the history of the building it’s in, and the cocktails are categorized by: Energy, Frequency, Vibration, and Descent.
PDT (Please Don’t Tell)
Where: 113 St. Marks Place
Please Don’t Tell is great spot for well-crafted cocktails in the East Village, although it is usually hard to get into. The wait time continues to lengthen as the night goes on but it’s worth the wait if you don’t mind hanging out at the hot dog shop that conceals it, Crif Dogs. Serving up some of the most delicious dogs on St. Marks it’s not a bad way to pass the time before entering the speakeasy for some amazing drinks. To put your name down (or hopefully enter if there’s no wait) you’ll walk into the phone booth inside Crif Dogs, dial “1” and the host will answer.
Raines Law Room
Where: 48 West 17th Street (Union Square)
Named after a law from 1896 that attempted to ban drinking in New York, Raines Law Room is a swanky bar with dozens of cocktail options to choose from. It’s hidden behind an unassuming black door so you’ll have to pay attention to the address.
Where: 134 9th Avenue (Chelsea)
The 18th Room is a relatively new speakeasy in Chelsea that creates personalized cocktails for each guest that comes in for a drink. Created by the co-owner of Bathtub Gin, Dave Oz opened this inventive space on 134 Ninth Avenue. Although it’s located near 18th street, the name actually comes from the 18th Amendment that created the Prohibition. Inspired by the time period, the decor has a 1920’s Art Deco vibe and both jazz and swing play throughout the bar.
The Back Room
Where: 102 Norfolk Street (LES)
The Back Room has been around since the roaring 20’s and was a speakeasy used by many actors and gangsters of the time, according to their website. Use the same hidden doorway that Bugsy Siegel and others originally entered through. Once inside you’ll be transported back in time to and catch a glimpse of what it looked like to drink during the era of Prohibition.