I’m a big fan of speakeasies. The allure of going to a discrete, often hidden place, with a nice twist in my drink is something that always gets me excited. Here are my favorites, in descending order. As a general rule, in NYC, bars are busiest during Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re not a fan of big crowds, you’ll want to avoid these nights or go to some more low key places. Some of these places are only sit down, so you can avoid crowds but you’ll have to make a reservation to avoid waiting for long times. Go to the bottom of the page for location/addresses.
A drink after a haircut anyone? Blind Barber sports a barbershop during the day, turning into a spacious drinking hole after hours. Once you get to the location, you’ll notice a regular barbershop, likely with a bouncer in the front. Walk into the barbershop, have a quick glance, if you’re in disbelief you’ve just walked into this place for a drink! Once you’re satisfied, slide the wooden door and you’ll find a big lounge area. Outside of Friday or Saturday nights, you’ll find this bar fairly calm. Grab a drink and get some space on a couch for a comfy evening.
Situated inside a Japanese restaurant, Angel’s Share has a completely unsuspecting location. Walk up to the second flood of Village Yokocho restaurant and mention to the hostess that you’re headed to the bar for a drink. They’ll walk you in through a secret door. Opt in for a table by the window for a perfect East Village people-watching spot, if you get the chance. Try something new from the menu; you won’t be disappointed.
If it’s not for the bouncer casually hanging out outside most evenings, you may miss this place. Quite discretely fitting into a street corner in west village on 7th ave, Little Branch has a great food menu. The bar area is quite small, as this is more of a small group setting or 1-1 environment, perfect for a date. On some nights the bar can get quite busy and gives you an opportunity to meet some interesting people.
Finding this place probably will not be hard as there’s usually a line in front of this popular bar & restaurant mix. During the day the front part plays as Stone Street Coffee for your classic NYC coffee. If you have a reservation, go straight to the bouncer. After a quick id check, the bouncer will let you into the first room where you can check in your coat/bag, if you wish. A host/hostess will meet you from there if you’re going to a table. If you’re having drinks at the bar, walk yourself in and find a space at the bar. If you fancy a gin drink, you’re at the right place. If gin’s not your thing, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other interesting cocktails to explore. Keep an eye out towards the center of the main/dining room, you’ll see the bathtub. 😉
On some nights you will even be entertained with a belly dancing show.
Did you come for burgers or drinks?? May be confusing at first and even unknown to the unsuspecting ones amongst us, The Garrett is situated above a 5 Guys burger joint. You can casually walk into this 5 Guys, go all the way towards the kitchen, look left and find the stairs going up to this hidden-away gem. Quite popular with the after work and late evening crowds, this small-sized bar can get quite busy at times. Find yourself a seat on one of the tables with a outside view if you can or opt in for a bar seat. Plenty of interesting and classic drinks can be found on the menu. And since you’re above a burger shop, a basket of fries is not far away!
An original…from the Prohibition era. The name is quite literal, as it’s in the back of some apartment complexes. Finding this place could be part of the allure. Once you get to the address, walk down the steps, into a seemingly dark alleyway/tunnel. You’ll come out on the other side into the back entrances of several apartments. Walk about 10-15 more steps, you’ll see a set of steps to the right, leading to a deck area. Open the door to be transported to another time. With a mid-20th century vibe, this bar was used during the Prohibition era by people in the know to enjoy a libation. Keeping the history alive, you will be served your drink in a tea cup (you’ll find out why!) and beer in a brown bag. It’s rumored that some tunnels were used to escape the bar during the Prohibition era are still accessible by the owners. There are plenty of memorabilia to gaze and admire. On some nights you can hear some fantastic jazz and get the full experience!
Please Don’t Tell. Just when you thought phone booths were useless in the 2000’s, comes a phone booth with a secret door. Step into this late 19th century invention, dial the “secret” number and you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome by one of the awesome host/hostesses. Get ready for an one of a kind experience. If you have the option, opt in for a first row seat at the bar for a show that’s sure to leave you wanting more. Mixologists whip up some delicious and exotic cocktails for your sipping pleasure. You’ll definitely want to opt in for seconds—- try something different. Hungry? Go no further! Pick out one of the hot dogs from main shop you walked in through, Criff Dogs, delivered through a secret window. Reservations are recommended, if you don’t want to be put on a long wait-list; reservation line opens around 3pm each day for that evening.
Cheers! Have a great time! (:
Tag @moplacestogo on IG when you go and let me know how you liked your speakeasy experience!