Get Your Flapper on at These Speakeasy-Style Bars


To find PDT, just look inside the hot-dog phone booth. (Photo: Noah Kalina)

Over the past decade, speakeasy-style bars with hidden entrances and secret phone numbers have become hyper-popular. Serving old-school, pre-Prohibition-style cocktails in elegant settings, these bars have set the trend for a new way of drinking that has spread across the country.

From bars with no signs to doors hidden as bookcases, here are 10 of the best speakeasies and cocktail lounges for obsession-worthy drinks:

PDT, New York City

Mixologist Jim Meehan, deputy editor of Food & Wine Cocktails, obsesses over obscure classic drinks at this excellent reservations-only lounge, whose name means Please Don’t Tell. The (unmarked) door is in a phone booth inside the hot dog joint Crif Dogs.


(Courtesy: Brick & Mortar)

Brick & Mortar, Boston

Located above Central Kitchen restaurant, this industrial-cool space features exposed brick, a copper bar and innovative cocktails like the Sentimental Gentleman, made with Scotch and walnut liqueur.


(Courtesy: Employees Only)

Employees Only, New York City

This bartender-owned supper club was originally intended to be a late-night gathering spot for fellow bar and restaurant workers.


(Photo: Danya Henninger,

Hop Sing Laundromat, Philadelphia

Led by an eccentric barman-proprietor known only as Lêe, this speakeasy has strict house rules: no cell phones and no photos. Concoctions include the Henry “Box” Brown, made with fresh red grape juice and aged rum.


(Courtesy: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.)

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., Philadelphia

Hidden in a building that fronted the largest alcohol-smuggling ring in the U.S. during Prohibition, this lounge maintains a speakeasy feel. Dapper bartenders serve spot-on classics, plus tasty new inventions like the Peckinpah (mezcal, rum, lime juice and blackberry-habanero syrup).


(Photo: Ken Wyner Photography)

PX, Alexandria, Va.

Todd Thrasher makes the cocktails at this chandelier-lit speakeasy (there’s no sign outside, just a blue light). It’s owned by the team behind the terrific Restaurant Eve.


(Courtesy: The Varnish)

The Varnish, Los Angeles

A collaboration between cocktail magnates Sasha Petraske and Eric Alperin, The Varnish is accessed through a secret door at Cole’s, the destination French Dip restaurant


(Courtesy: Midnight Cowboy)

Midnight Cowboy, Austin

Located in a former brothel behind an unmarked door, this reservations-only lounge from Alamo Drafthouse beverage director Bill Norris (P.118) focuses on tableside cocktail presentations to encourage customer interaction.

(Courtesy: The Violet Hour)

The Violet Hour, Chicago

With chandeliers and a fireplace, this lounge is modeled after early-19th-century English clubs and French salons. Floor-to-ceiling curtains define three rooms, where guests enjoy concoctions like Baron’s Brew (tea-infused gin, lemon juice, neroli-violet syrup and house-made tonic).

(Photo: Adam Larkey Photography)

Williams & Graham, Denver

Guests pass through a door disguised as a bookcase to reach barman Sean Kenyon’s speakeasy-style cocktail haven. Kenyon’s signature drinks include the Blackberry Sage Smash: fresh blackberries, sage and Williams & Graham Select Single Barrel Knob Creek bourbon, bottled from barrels specially chosen by Kenyon.

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