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!
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 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.
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,” and “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, 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.
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. 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.
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 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.
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 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.
11. 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 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.
12. Thyme Bar, Flatiron
Where: 20 W 23rd St, Cellar
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.
13. Frevo, Greenwich Village
Where: 48 W 8th St
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.
14. Basement, Chinatown
Where: 45 Mott St
15. Chapel Bar, Flatiron
Where: 275 Park Ave S
Also published on Medium.