Prohibition has long been over but that doesn’t mean the thrill of a secret bar can’t remain. In New York City there are many great bars that you’ll discover through hidden entrances. Whether it’s through a barbershop, past a restaurant, or into a phone booth, speakeasies provide the perfect venue for a classy night out on the town. Here’s our list of the top five speakeasy bars in the Big Apple.
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Please Don’t Tell
113 St. Mark’s Place
New York, NY 10009
The only information on this bar’s website is a photo of the interior of the bar, and a phone number for reservations. No other information is provided, and you won’t find any information anywhere else either. Enter at Crif Dogs, where you’ll discover a phone booth in the back of the room. Dial ‘1’ to be connected to the bar then enter through a secret opening in the wall of the phone booth. Noted as one of the best cocktail bars in the city, you’ll feel accomplished once you’ve made it through.
The Back Room Bar
102 Norfolk St.
New York, NY 10002
This is one of the only original prohibition bars still around. The Back Room is located way downtown past a sign marked for the East Side Toy Company through an alley and up a flight of stairs. If you can find it you’ll be in a comfortable, 1920’s-era cocktail lounge listening to the smooth sound of jazz. Have your drink prohibition-style served in a teacup, to hide the fact that you’re actually drinking alcohol, and enjoy the atmosphere. There’s even a secret room behind a bookcase if you can find your way there.
9 Doyers St.
New York, NY 10079
You know when you have to enter the bar with a password that you’ll be the envy of your friends. Featuring some classy cocktails with names reminiscent of the opium den that used to be housed there. Bartenders wear pharmacist lab coats and a “Chemist” sign hangs outside the building. A Chinatown classic, Apotheke is a great place to take a small group after a dinner of Chinese food. Live music is available most nights.
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8 Stuyvesant St.
New York, NY 10003
This bar is located inside a Japanese restaurant, behind a nondescript door. While no secret passwords or phone booth calls are necessary to get in. You’ll probably find it near impossible to locate the entrance to this bar unless you go with someone who’s been there before. But once inside, you’ll discover some great cocktails with Asian-inspired themes on offer. You might want to stop by before the late night rush begins though, because a line has been known to form for this popular downtown spot.
The Raines Law Room
48 West 17 St.
New York, NY 10011
There are two locations for the Raines Law Room. The most popular location can be found down some steps and behind an unmarked black door. Only a doorbell gives away a small thrill of excitement when you find the entrance. Ring the bell and you’ll get admitted to a comfortable room full of couches. Cocktails of every kind are made at this bar named for the 1920 New York law that prohibited the sale of liquor on Sundays everywhere but hotels.
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Jennifer Eberhart is a writer, reader, crafter, traveler and New Yorker. She works in midtown New York City for non-profit organizations. Her degrees are in communication studies and art history.You can contact Jennifer on Twitter at @egyptologist. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.