The Prohibition era of the 1920s gave rise to hidden and illicit establishments that sold alcoholic beverages called speakeasies. To this day, nightlife in New York City continues to thrive with these clandestine bars. Here are the top 7 speakeasies you should visit in New York and instructions on how to get in.
Ironically named after a 1896 liquor tax law to curb alcohol consumption, Raines Law Room has one of the best cocktail menus in the city. Slightly hidden among residential and office buildings in Chelsea, this speakeasy can be found down some stairs and after ringing a discreet doorbell. The host will lead you past some moody curtains, and you’ll be instantly transported back to the 1920s, surrounded by Chesterfield sofas and antique furnishings. Use the wall buzzers to order.
If you want your delicious cocktails to be paired with some specialty hot dogs and tater tots, try Please Don’t Tell. Just enter through Crif Dogs in the East Village, and step inside the red phone booth, left of the stairs. Ring once, and (if there’s room) the host will let you into the candle-lit, dark-wood bar. Seating is limited, so if you’re a large party, make sure to make reservations day of at 3 p.m. by calling their number.
Home of the iconic copper bathtub you see on Instagram, Bathtub Gin plays jazz, hip-hop, and dance music throughout the night. This small Victorian bar hides behind an unmarked door of a Brooklyn-based coffee shop (Stone Street Coffee Company) in Chelsea. Its silk couches, classic damask wallpaper, and elaborate cocktails invoke nostalgic memories of the Lost Generation social club, and the tub pays an homage to moonshine.
A slightly more delicate speakeasy, Karasu focuses on being a seasonal izakaya with unique food and cocktails. Tucked behind a midnight-blue wall in Walter’s, a corner tavern across Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, this bar sets a relaxed mood with quiet jazz, wooden Kumiko screens, and a curved marble-and-mahogany bar. The diversity of flavors and textures won’t disappoint.
Ring the doorbell at 134 Eldridge, and enter into a dim, narrow space to find a brushed-steel bar. No reservations necessary. There’s no written menu, so let the bartender know what you’re in the mood for, and they’ll personalize your drink for the night. Some of the possibilities include bitter-twinged spirits like Campari, Aperol, and Amari, as well as signatures such as Penicillin.
Look for a giant mural of an exhausted boxer hugging his punching bag in Bushwick (off Graham Avenue) to find this gem. Past the hidden door, you can find eclectic, muted green décor with a 1920s tiki vibe. The intimate space is stylish yet dingy, and the bartenders there take cocktailery extremely seriously. From jujube-infused gin, Gran Classico Bitter, and lime bitters served in modern glass, Featherweight drinks are not made for lightweights.
On a date and want a speakeasy with a view? Angel’s Share has one of the best views of Stuyvesant Square, and their tuxedoed bartenders are sure to set a classy mood. Just walk up to Village Yokocho and through an unmarked side door on the left. The mural of angelic cherubs above the dark wood bar will catch your eye, and the impeccable Japanese-inspired cocktails will make you stay.
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Nightlife in New York is exciting, and there’s something for everyone. But the best part is going home to a comfortable bed. Convenient, affordable, and beautiful homes await you at the many Common homes in New York. Take a free tour.