8 of the Best: Speakeasy Bars

There is something deeply enticing about speakeasy bars which hark back to prohibition times and still draw crowds of eager revellers and booze hounds today. If you like the idea of a clandestine cocktail or two, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are some amazing speakeasy bars operating all over the world today.

Take a look at our top picks of some of the world’s best speakeasy bars below:

Please Don’t Tell (PDT) – New York

Somewhat of a New York institution, Please Don’t Tell (PDT) is accessed via an unassuming red telephone in a hot dog joint above called Crif Dogs. The capacity to enjoy a delicious cocktail in the surreptitious bar downstairs before sating your appetite with a mouthwatering hot dog when you leave is one that is too good to be ignored and makes this one of New York’s most popular speakeasies by a distance.

Le Syndicat – Paris

Entry to Paris’s Le Syndicat is via a must unexpected means indeed. You need to peruse a, probably rather off-putting, wall of graffiti and posters to find the only spot without any coverage because that’s the door to what is one of the world’s coolest speakeasies. This Parisian bar is a real favourite with the locals and though it definitely takes some searching for, it will be worth the effort for sure.

Lock & Key – Los Angeles

The access to Lock & Key in Los Angles is something that might put you off to start with as you need to make your way past a deceptively sketchy looking entrance before turning the right doorknob on a wall of doorknobs to find the one that grants you entry to one of California’s coolest speakeasies. Classy with a mighty impressive line up of cocktails, it’s easy to see why so many Californians beat a trail to the door of Lock & Key.

Nola – London

Heavily inspired by the heyday of the New Orleans drinking scene, the Nola speakeasy in London is accessed through a pub, and around a corner (keep an eye out for a little sign on the ceiling), head on up some stairs and you’ll soon be in London’s answer to New Orleans. A city famed for its music and whisky, NOLA has got both in abundance and it’s definitely worth the effort to find. Vintage style trombones dot from the walls and if you’re lucky enough to slope by on a Thursday or Friday, you’ll be treated to some excellent live music to go with your cocktails.

Door 74 – Amsterdam

One for those in Amsterdam who favour cocktails over pot brownies, Door 74 is the first speakeasy style cocktail bar in The Netherlands. They have all the requisite elements of a speakeasy that you’d come to expect such as the hidden door, antique barware, tin ceiling and sophisticated atmosphere and they combine this with the mouthwatering and impeccably balanced creations from Timo Janse and his team of well trained bartenders.

El Bandito – Liverpool

Speakeasies were historically quite small spaces to help avoid detection from the authorities and this brilliant El Bandito Speakeasy in Liverpool definitely follows that principle. Small but perfectly formed, the El Bandito Speakeasy looks like any old staircase at first glance, but have a chat with Santo Chupitos’ bouncers and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. This minuscule bar is probably no larger than your average bedroom but it is famed for its unparalleled tequila collection, along with boasting the latest licence in the city where you can evade the authorities until 5AM.

Foxglove – Hong Kong

Really committing to the whole speakeasy vibe, the Foxglove in Hong Kong actually has a false storefront to keep its boozy nature hidden. Under the guise of an umbrella store, the Foxglove is actually one of Hong Kong’s finest speakeasy bars and regularly sees patrons hunting it down in search of some amazing cocktails and food. This first class destination is accessed by pulling down a specific umbrella and, when you find it, you will be transported back in time to a prohibition style spot for fun times and cocktails.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency – London

Adding a touch of pageantry to the speakeasy proceedings is the Evans & Peel Detective Agency in London. This excellent speakeasy is rapidly becoming a go-to destination in the City and access is only granted after you’ve passed the detective on the door’s rigorous round of questioning regarding your “case” (or, more accurately, booking). Once they’re satisfied with the particulars, you will then enter through a secret bookcase that weaves down to this fantastic libation station. The atmosphere is always rocking and the Prohibition-era cocktails are put together by some of the best in the business. Channel your inner Sherlock, and crack the case (of rum).

Leo Davie
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