Photo courtesy of The Shag Room
Speakeasies have long had a mysterious allure for those who want to live on the edge. Even if you only want to test the limits of your comfort zone for one night, a speakeasy promises a thrill. After all, they began as illicit liquor stores or clubs during Prohibition. Revelers were told to “speak easy” or be quiet about their location, and the whole place operated under the cloak of secrecy.
There’s little need to be too secretive these days, however. Modern-day speakeasies are often hidden in fun and clever ways, and they’re exclusive, special places to imbibe or just hang out. These 10 speakeasies are sure to impress with their décor, ambiance and “wow” factor.
Photo courtesy of Lupercalia Art Society
Lupercalia Art Society - Mobile, Alabama
Art lovers will be amazed by this speakeasy/art gallery. Located within an 1853 historic building in the heart of downtown Mobile, Alabama, the Lupercalia Art Society features the diverse art of over 75 regional artists. You'll sometimes find the work of renowned artists alongside art from talented newcomers.
The underground speakeasy has décor and an ambiance that mimics the Roaring '20s. It's no wonder that going there always feels like a celebration.
Photo courtesy of Bathtub Gin
Bathtub Gin - New York, New York
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Bathtub Gin is hidden behind a non-descript door in the back of the Stone Street Coffee Company. Customers who come for coffee generally have no idea that there’s a bar on the premises. Bathtub Gin celebrates the Prohibition Era when speakeasies thrived, and even its name is a nod to the homemade gin people often made in their bathtubs when they weren’t allowed to legally make and sell alcohol in the 1920s.
Bathtub Gin features antique copper bathtubs as a salute to the illicit booze. Also, luxurious damask fabrics and vintage décor help give the speakeasy its stately elegance.
Photo courtesy of Maxwell Mansion
The Speakeasy at the Maxwell Mansion - Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
You’ll find a stunning speakeasy in the basement of the Maxwell Mansion, a historic hotel in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. To get the password to this hidden bar, book your stay or keep an eye on Maxwell Mansion’s Facebook page for clues.
This subterranean speakeasy is designed to take guests to another place and time. The mansion itself dates to 1856, and the lively basement bar is homey with nooks and crannies for secret conversations.
Photo courtesy of The Hyatt Centric Las Olas - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Nine01 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hyatt Centric Las Olas Fort Lauderdale recently debuted Nine01, a former guest room that's been transformed into a reservation-only speakeasy. With its theme of Prohibition in the Roaring 1920s, it’s a lot of fun. You’ll find a record player, antiques and bookshelves that are full of vintage titles.
The Nine01’s bartender-in-residence program brings in bartenders from around the country who have struggled during the pandemic. They get paid for their services while also getting some of the perks of a Florida beach vacation. That also means no two speakeasy experiences are the same, as different bartenders come and go.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Partrick
Noble Experiment - San Diego, California
Hidden behind a keg wall inside Neighborhood, CH Projects’ San Diego restaurant, the Noble Experiment is a grand speakeasy. The ambiance is first set as guests enter through a mirrored hall into the secret space, and guests are then ready to enjoy one of the most unique cocktail spots in San Diego.
Classical art hangs on the ceiling of the Noble Experiment, and don’t miss the wall of golden skulls. The dimly lit speakeasy only has seating for 35 people and doesn’t have a regular menu. Instead, guests get to decide the drink selections of the evening during this customized experience.
Photo courtesy of The Shag Room
The Shag Room - Las Vegas, Nevada
Accessible through a speakeasy photo booth entrance, The Shag Room is located within Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton. It’s the perfect speakeasy for Las Vegas because there’s nothing subtle here about the regal décor. In fact, it pays homage to the famous Studio 54, the New York City nightclub that was the pinnacle of partying in its 1970’s heyday.
As its name suggests, there is shag carpet in the boldly designed space that’s just off the Las Vegas Strip. The Shag Room also features velvet drapes that help guests feel a greater sense of privacy, and the lounge’s red and purple color scheme sets the scene for a bold experience.
Photo courtesy of Ohio Club
Ohio Club - Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs is a city with a fascinating history, and that’s also true for the Ohio Club, a beloved local speakeasy. Originally opened in 1905, the Ohio Club operated full-time during Prohibition, keeping a storefront called the Ohio Cigar Store to conceal its once-questionable activities such as gambling and imbibing.
These days, the Ohio Club is a vibrant bar that is a 21-and-older establishment. Live music is often a part of the joy here, and the speakeasy serves a variety of fun drinks and cocktails. The Ohio Club is considered Arkansas’s oldest bar that has been continuously open.
Photo courtesy of Apothecary 330
Apothecary 330 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Apothecary 330 is a vibrant speakeasy that’s hidden behind Pizza Craft, a beloved pizzeria in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It proudly serves elixirs, spirits and healing tonics. The entrance to the bar is under a bright neon sign that simply says “Cocktails."
Seasonal drink menus keep things fresh and fun throughout the year, and Apothecary 330 is a romantic spot for a date. The lush booths are comfortable, and this cheerful speakeasy accepts reservations, so you can plan to celebrate special occasions without having to worry about waiting for a table.
Photo courtesy of Peter Kern Library
Peter Kern Library - Knoxville, Tennessee
As Knoxville’s first speakeasy that focuses on craft cocktails and whiskeys, the Peter Kern Library is hidden inside The Oliver Hotel. Guests enter through the alley beside the hotel. You simply look for the red light and have your code ready. To find it, look for the Peter Kern Library’s latest Instagram post.
Once you enter, prepare to relax as table service is offered in the small speakeasy that has a capacity for only 45 people. You’ll notice great attention to detail at the Peter Kern Library (menus are hidden in old encyclopedias). Also, in keeping with the library theme, the drinks themselves are named after literary characters.
Photo courtesy of The Office at the Aviary
The Office at the Aviary - Chicago, Illinois
The Office is an alluring speakeasy that can be found directly below The Aviary in Chicago, Illinois. People typically find it because they hear about it from a friend or a friend of a friend.
The speakeasy offers guests the chance to enjoy antique spirits and experiences they're not likely to find elsewhere in the city. If a guest asks for the Dealer’s Choice, the bartender will surprise them with something special that’s based on the guest’s favorite spirits and flavors.