Written by Bianca Bahamondes and Justine Golata
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 twelve. 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!
1. Attaboy, Lower East Side
Where: 134 Eldridge St.
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. Make your reservations here.
2. Angel’s Share, East Village
Where: 8 Stuyvesant St.
A personal favorite, 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 Flirtibird (Mizo No Mai Shochu, yuzu, shiso, agave nectar, plum salt) or the Night Train (Grey Goose Pear, galangal chai tea syrup, lime, ginger beer, bitters, thyme). To get in you’ll climb the stairs up to the restaurant and look for a wooden door to your left. Reserve your spot here.
3. Bo Peep, Midtown South
Where: 70 W 36th St.
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,” “Some Like it Hot.” Reserve a table here.
4. Dutch Kills, LIC
Where: 27-24 Jackson Ave
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, with 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.
5. Employees Only, Greenwich Village
Where: 510 Hudson St.
In this West Village hidden behind a psychic’s reading den is the speakeasy known as Employees Only. The spot just reopened on April 1st so 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. Make reservations here.
6. La Noxe, Chelsea
Where: 315 7th Avenue, Subway Staircase to Train 1 Local
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: 1707 2nd Avenue
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 cocktails try The Next Stop Is Hunter College made with 7 Bread Seed Cruzan Spiced Rum, Dried Chocolate Peanut Butter, Lotus Cookie Spread, Housemade Exotic Fruit Purée, SoCo Dirty Chocolate Ice Cream, Young’s Chocolate Stout and severed in a cone cup or the Girls Gossip On The East with Codigo Rosé Tequila, Fresh Marjoram, Lime, Agave, Cholula Chipotle, Hibiscus Infused Campari, Housemade Mexican Fruit Purée, Primaterra Prosecco. Make reservations here.
8. Patent Pending, Chelsea
Where: 49 West 27th St.
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.
9. Raines Law Room, Union Square
Where: 48 West 17th St.
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.
10. The Little Shop, South Street Seaport
Where: 252 Front St, New York
Disguised inside an actual bodega, The Little Shop has an entire cocktail bar and lounge hidden within the building. Find the sliding door in the back and enter into an eclectic space filled with vintage furniture and maximalist wallpaper. Order cocktails and on your way out grab some chips and candy at the bodega!
11. The Back Room, Lower East Side
Where: 102 Norfolk St.
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.
12. The Garret West, West Village
Where: 296 Bleecker St.
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 Refinery 63 with Singani 63, Mezcal, Passionfruit, Fermented Pineapple, Lime or The First Lady with Gin, Combier, Matcha Green Tea, Lemon, Egg White, and Fresh Basil.
featured image source: Instagram / @leboudoirbrooklyn
Also published on Medium.