In the 1920s, during the Prohibition in the United States, alcohol consumption was banned in the country. To circumvent the measure, hidden bars – also known as speakeasy – arose and to attend them it was necessary to have a code or to know exactly how to get to them since many were inside other establishments.
Today drinking in the United States is allowed, but the mood of mystery surrounding these bars continues, and several new establishments in this style have emerged. If you are passing through NYC, it is worth visiting some of the most famous speakeasies in the city and, to help you with that choice, we select below the coolest ones.
In the middle of Chinatown, one of the coolest bars in the city. The decor and the mood are amazing. The bartenders are dressed like pharmacists – just tell you one thing – if you’re in NYC, you need to go.
→ 9 Doyers St #1, New York
PH: Eater NYC
Another great find. This place is interesting if you want to surprise a friend. When a friend took me there, I found him the most insider in the world. The reason? You’re in the Lower East Side, there you enter a beautiful, minimalist art gallery, white, very white. Then you open a simple door, right in the corner, well unnoticed, and there’s the bar: only the coolest people. I loved it.
→ 31 Chrystie St, New York
The Back Room
This bar is legitimate since it has been open since the Prohibition era, for real. It is also known because the gangsters of the day held their meetings there. The owners maintain the same style to serve the drinks in case the police appeared on the premises: beer in that brown bag and champagne in cups of tea.
→102 Norfolk St, New York
PH: Emilie Baltz
The suggestive name goes to the meeting of the group that is seen there. The guys who leave work, crazy to have a good drink. The bar is in the West Village and you do not see many tourists. It has existed for about ten years and is famous among the cool little groups of the city. Worth the visit.
→ 510 Hudson St, New York
The VNYL (short for ‘Vintage New York Lifestyle’) is a 4-floors-bar with 1970s theme – each with a different design. In the center of one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, the East Village, at its entrance, you can see a vintage record store and a cafe. Curious to see the place? Expect many different cocktails, vinyls and rock’n’roll!
→100 3rd Avenue, New York
Famous for its private parties, the bar brings together people from the art, fashion, music and technology world of the city and is certainly a hotspot. Located in lower Manhattan, its décor is a separate attraction: vintage wallpaper straight from Belgium and old lamps that belonged to the Plaza Hotel – are some of the highlights.
→ 11 Barclay Street, New York
Beauty & Essex
To access this secret bar, you must first enter an antique shop. When you enter the bar, you can choose one of the four different atmospheres to enjoy the evening delighting in a great dinner, drinks or enjoying the music – which is higher on the upper floors. When ordering a drink, taste the famous Earl the Pearl, with vodka, gray tea, lemon, and mint syrup.
→ 146 Essex Street, New York
PH: Paul Wagtowicz
In Japanese, Karasu means “little crow”. It resembles the hotel bars in Japan, but with a Brooklyn twist it brings the decor that honors Izakaya – a type of Japanese gastropub. The menu, as well as the decor, is a mix of east and west.
→166 Dekalb Avenue, New York
PH: Jessica Lin
Strolling down the street you do not even notice, but a thick iron door uncovers the bar. Here you have to make an effort: to knock, knock and knock the door that is always locked, where the security controls the number of people of the exclusive speakeasy. The bar is also on the Lower East Side.
→ 134 Eldridge Street, New York
PDT (Please Don’t Tell)
We love it when the place offers an extra experience, in which case the entrance to this bar is quite different. There’s a phone booth on the street and you have to let them know you’re out there. The gastronomy is also a plus, authentic hot dogs and cheeseburgers to eat while you drink a good beer.
→ 113 St Marks Pl, New York