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 the best speakeasies in NYC that 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!
1. Attaboy, Lower East Side
Formerly known as Milk & Honey, the bar on 134 Eldridge Street has been reinvented as Attaboy since 2012 and is hidden in plain sight on an obscure bit of Eldridge Street. 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. Attaboy operates on a first come, first served basis for parties of six or less only, so be sure to get there early to claim your spot in the bar.
Where: 134 Eldridge St.
2. Sincerely, Ophelia, East Village
Tucked away next to it’s sister restaurant, The Chicken & The Egg, Sincerely, Ophelia is a new-ish spot that’s been serving speakeasy vibes since its summer opening earlier this year. Between the Basquiat artwork on the walls to the glow-in-the-dark bathrooms, the atmosphere here is some of the most unique around. Their mixologists serve artisanal cocktails and the dimly lit lounge is the perfect place to hang with friends or mingle with others.
Where: 221 2nd Ave Suite B
3. The Ragtrader & Bo Peep, Midtown South
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 “Foxy Lady,” “Sailor Beware,” and “Some Like it Hot.” Reserve a table here.
Where: 70 W 36th St
4. SAINT, East Village
SAINT is a brand new bi-level restaurant and speakeasy that just opened here in NYC! Complete with an upstairs for fine dining, natural light, and outdoor garden, you also can sneak downstairs into their speakeasy “SAINT Downstairs.” When you get down there, be sure to check out one of their signature cocktails like the “Gins N Roses” or the “Swan Song” which comes served in a swan shaped glass! Plus, if you head over at the right time, you may be able to catch a DJ and dance under their disco ball.
Where: 136 2nd Ave
5. Dutch Kills, 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 Tiger Chilled Coffee (which is made with dark rum, Jamaican rum, cold brew coffee, allspice liqueur, cinnamon syrup, absinthe, and a float of sweet whipped cream). You’ll find this bar right under the neon light that simply says “BAR”. Find more on their website.
Where: 27-24 Jackson Ave, Queens
6. Apotheke, Chinatown & NoMad
Apotheke is an intimate basement lounge that offers botanically-focused cocktails, cozy furniture, and a candlelit lounge atmosphere. There’s two locations in NYC and they equally serve rich cocktails infused with plants, herbs, and natural roots. This cellar speakeasy also serves Chinatown-themed small plates too like caviar and dumplings, in case you’re hungry!
Chinatown – 9 Doyers St
NoMad – 9 W 26th St
7. Employees Only, Greenwich Village
In this West Village hidden behind a psychic’s reading den is the speakeasy known as Employees Only. 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. Reservations are only for dinner and you can make them here, otherwise cocktails and appetizers are strictly walk-in only.
Where: 510 Hudson St
8. PS, Hudson Square
The perfect combination of cocktails and charcuterie is what you’ll find at PS, the hidden speakeasy behind the chocolatey doors of Pine & Polk. Boasting itself as half store, half speakeasy, this cozy spot allows shoppers to kick back and have a drink after they’ve walked through high-quality charcuterie, floral bouquets, and other products that the store offers. Once you’re in the speakeasy, be sure to try one of the West Coast inspired drinks that pays homage to the two female owners of Pine & Polk, Lindsay Weiss and Alyssa Golub. Don’t forget to pair it with one of their savory boards, that has some of the best veggies and curated meats around!
Where: 300 Spring St
9. La Noxe, Chelsea
Of course the main appeal of speakeasies are their mystery, but have you ever considered that you might be missing one every time you ride the subway? Yes, La Noxe is hidden away at the 28th St. subway station behind an inconspicuous door. But once found guests are quickly whisked away into a secret world that’s been right underneath their nose…and quite literally their city. Make your reservations through Instagram DMs.
Where: 315 7th Avenue, Subway Staircase to Train 1 Local
10. Paper Planes, Lower East Side
Follow the paper trail to one of our favorite LES speakeasies, Paper Planes. After you follow a set of paper airplanes down a staircase, you’ll arrive at this gorgeous open space with a high glass roof ceiling and tons of seating. Playing on their airline theme, all craft cocktails here are cheekily named, including the “Paper Planes” cocktail and our favorite, “The Aviation.” Plus, they even have “in-flight food service” if you’re looking to pick at a tasty snack!
Where: 154 Orchard St
11. The UES, Upper East Side
This might look like an adorable ice cream shop, but hidden behind an ice cream carton door is an incredible secretive cocktail bar! Their drinks are sure to impress with ornate glasses, New York themed names, and ice cream inspired recipes. We suggest The Next Stop Is Hunter College, which is made with 7 Bread Seed Cruzan Spiced Rum, Dried Chocolate Peanut Butter, Lotus Cookie Spread, Housemade Exotic Fruit Purée, SoCo Dirty Chocolate Ice Cream, and Young’s Chocolate Stout. Plus it’s severed in a cone cup! Book your reservation here.
Where: 1707 2nd Avenue
12. Patent Pending, 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. Patent Pending welcomes walk-in but guests can choose to make cocktail prix fixe reservations.
Where: 49 West 27th St.
13. Raines Law Room, 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. Make reservations here.
Where: 48 West 17th St.
14. The Woo Woo, Midtown
Looking to spice things up a bit? Check out The Woo Woo at the crossroads of Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen. This underground speakeasy takes inspiration from 80s sex shops and is a cheeky and seductive spot with fantastic signature cocktails. After ringing the front doorbell and walking through a neon-lit sex shop surrounded with sex posters, graffiti walls, and sex toys, you’ll reach a red curtain at a VCR stand which allows you to enter the bar. Once you’re in, try out one of their equally as sexual cocktails like the “Frisky Business” or the “Dirty Dancing.” If you’re looking to get your freak on, head here!
Where: 266 W 47th Street
15. The Back Room, Lower East Side
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.
Where: 102 Norfolk St.
16. PDT, East Village
Step through a vintage-style phone booth into PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a laidback yet stylish lounge that’s attached to a hot dog joint named Crif Dogs. The dimly lit space and taxidermy-filled walled give the feel that you’re in someone’s basement, but the cocktails are just as good as any other speakeasy. For the full experience, we suggest pairing one of their curated cocktails with a quirky hot dog from next door.
Where: 113 St Marks Pl
17. The Garret West, West Village
Located above a Five Guys, walk to the secret staircase in the back and find this second story secret bar! As one of the three Garett Bars across the city, you won’t be disappointed with their cocktails like the The Spikey Westchester made with Tequila, Lime, Pineapple, Habanero, and mint or The First Lady made with Gin, Combier, Matcha Green Tea, Lemon, Egg White, and Fresh Basil.
Where: 296 Bleecker St.
18. Thyme Bar, Flatiron
This underground hideaway takes you back more than a century in a pre-war cellar located beneath a patisserie on 23rd Street. Once belonging to a gambling den and speakeasy in the 1920s, the space was reinvented into what it is today, and it’s definitely worth checking out. You can even tell by the name of the drinks that they’ll taste good, like the Flower Bomb or Primrose & Rye.
Where: 20 W 23rd St, Cellar
19. Osamil Upstairs, K-Town
This second floor cocktail lounge gives speakeasy vibes thanks to its upstairs location in Koreatown. Attached to its main restaurant downstairs, Osamil Upstairs is comprised of a 12-seat bar, cozy living room-like private area, and communal lounge space is the perfect place to sneak away for our drink. Their cocktail program is one of our favorites in the area and their small bites from downstairs deserve your attention too.
Where: 5 W 31st St, Floor 2
20. Madame George, Midtown
While Madame George may not be a speakeasy by definition, it’s a cocktail lounge with character and culture that’s attached to Valerie. Its influence on subterranean elements mean the cocktails, small bites, and decor are all on point. Plus, their menu is inspired by our lovely city, so that means a cocktail referencing Coney Island, the subway lines, and more.
Where: 45 W 45th St (btwn 5th & 6th Ave)
21. Bar Francis, Clinton Hill
We couldn’t be anymore excited about Bar Francis opening up in Brooklyn on Wednesday (Nov 9). This concept comes from the same creators of Hungry Ghost Coffee, so we know the crossover is going to be epic. Their modern and open layout as teased on Instagram looks quite aesthetically pleasing, and the cocktail images provide the same feeling. Keep an eye on this opening this week!
Where: 810 Fulton St, Brooklyn
22. 11 Tigers, East Village
Get ready to run with the tigers at 11 Tigers in East Village. This spot is the “first speakeasy with a Thai heart and a Japanese soul” and that’s evident when you see the Asian-inspired decor draped all over the walls. This spot is still our little secret for now because it’s so brand new and so good. The cocktails are delicious and the atmosphere is exotic. Be sure to ask about how to take a photo op in their tiger masks!
Where: 225 Avenue B, Floor 2
23. Frevo, Greenwich Village
An elegant take on contemporary cuisine, Frevo is an exclusive 14-seat counter hidden by an art gallery. It offers a super intimate dining experience with an open kitchen that overlooks the chef in action. A tasting menu that emphasizes simplicity, seasonality, and sustainable practices is served to those lucky enough to get a reservation, which you can do here.
Where: 48 W 8th St
24. The Speakeasy at Jaffe Drive
Entertainment and cocktails is what you’ll find at The Speakeasy at Jaffe Drive, a pop-up speakeasy currently running this summer at the Lincoln Center. Every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from June 4th – August 13th there will be pop-up performances (from musical to comedy), all for free! Plus, there will be a cash bar for attendees to grab a drink while they enjoy whatever performance is happening as part of the Lincoln Center’s “Summer for the City” program.
Be sure to check out the The Speakeasy’s upcoming events here.
Where: Jaffe Drive beneath Lincoln Center’s campus
25. Basement, Chinatown
Hidden behind what looks like a coca-cola vending machine is a carnival-themed speakeasy filled with chill vibes, games to play, and plenty of tasty cocktails. Sip on their Made in Brooklyn, which is made with Roku Japanese Gin, Italicus Bergamotto, Cucumber, Shiso, Lemon, and Agave while playing beer pong, darts, dice, or a card game of your choosing.
Where: 45 Mott St
26. Key & Heels, UES
It’s time to unlock some delicious cocktails at this new speakeasy designed as a locksmith and shoe repair shop! Though you’d never expect a dimly lit and intimate atmosphere when you walk through this faux handy shop, once you enter the speakeasy it’s an atmosphere like none-other. Choose between one of their cute tables or luscious couches and pick out one of their house cocktails that will surely impress you. We recommend their whiskey-infused espresso martini! If you’re hungry be sure to grab one of their small bites that will keep you filled while you sip your drinks!
Where: 1488 2nd Ave
27. Nothing Really Matters, Midtown
@secretnyc_ We might have just found our favorite subway station 👀 Nothing Really Matters is distracting us from our daily commute with amazing cocktails!📍Located between Broadway and 50th St Downtown 1 train entrance. Hours: Monday-Saturday 4pm-2am. #mysecretnyc #nycbars ♬ original sound – Secret_nyc
We might have just found our new favorite subway station! Hidden underneath this Midtown subway station is Nothing Really Matters, a speakeasy with mood lighting and delicious cocktails! Their disco ball and dimly lit shelves of bottles are easy on their eye, but the talk of the down is their cocktails. We love the Smokey Belmont (rum + iced coffee), but there’s so many to choose from.
Where: 210 W 50th St (in the subway)
28. Chapel Bar, Flatiron
Where: 275 Park Ave S
29. The Cactus Shop, Williamsburg
Have you ever seen a plant shop by day and speakeasy by night? The Cactus Shop in Williamsburg is exactly that, and adds a small slice of Mexico right here in NYC! Complete with Mexican decor, colorful walls, and feel-good vibes, you’ll enjoy it no matter if you’re inside at the bar or outdoors in their courtyard. Their signature cocktails are all made with love and inspired by their owner Luis Zhumi. What we love most though is their street food that comes alongside the delicious drinks. You can order Mexican classics like quesadillas, tacos, and so much more!
Where: 231 Kent Ave, Brooklyn
30. 99 Franklin, Greenpoint
Also published on Medium.