11 Hidden Speakeasies in New York City [2017 Bar Guide]
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Here at Postcard we find best NY spots for you! Enjoy this in-depth guide of NYC speakeasies.
Speakeasies became a major part of New York’s underground culture during 1920’s Prohibition and it’s still a major location for all the best parties and get-togethers here in Manhattan.
Just like in the swinging Gatsby days, speakeasies are hidden gems that can only be found by word of mouth, or with an extensive social network. We’ve made it easy for you by listing the best of NYC’s speakeasy bars right here, so you don’t end up missing out on anymore of the best bar parties New York has to offer.
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Here are 11 of the best NYC speakeasy bars of 2017:
1. Apotheke (Chinatown)
This number one rated NYC speakeasy, located on Doyers Street (a one-block street in Chinatown affectionately known as “Murder Alley” and “The Bloody Angle”), is Apotheke. Perhaps the most hidden of all the bars on this list, its low ceilings, curtain-red couches, and dim lighting support this vibe.
The bar is adorned with vintage vials and prescription bottles, leaving the impression that the cocktails are not mere drinks, but potions. And given that they include ingredients from their rooftop garden in their concoctions, they just might be. Inspired by apothecaries in Europe, this hidden speakeasy bar is for those into the best New York mixology.
2. Little Branch (West Village)
Behind an unmarked metal door at the corner of 7th Avenue and Leroy is Little Branch. With its low ceilings and spare aesthetic, this speakeasy has a decidedly intimate atmosphere–perfect for enjoying its custom cocktails, made by some of the most professional bartenders and mixologists around.
Many of you might know of the ever popular bar Milk & Honey, so if you’re a fan of them, you’ll love their new Manhattan speakeasy Little Branch.
3. The Back Room (Lower East Side)
Behind a toy store and through a back alley you’ll find The Back Room, one of two current speakeasies, it claims, to have actually operated during Prohibition, playing host to a long list of actors and gangsters, including infamous NYC organized crime mobster, Meyer Lansky. Old school through and through, the lounge area has a fireplace, a revolving book case, and the cocktails are served in teacups and the beer in paper bags, just like in the days of old.
Finding the place is like a game of hide and seek, but be sure to get tickets to The Back Room’s Dollhouse theater, which feature live jazz, burlesque dancers, authentic moonshine, and a fabulous murder mystery. For more fun, dress up in costume, in bowler hats and flapper girl dresses.
4. Employee’s Only (West Village)
Employee’s Only really sets itself apart with its creative selection of savory late night eats–bacon wrapped lamb chops, chicken liver pate, and bone marrow poppers, to name a few. Try pairing them with one of their “EO Classics” made by some of the best bartenders in New York City! This is the best foodie bar you’ll find in the Big Apple.
5. Nitecap (Lower East Side)
Far less formal than its cousin Death & Co (operated by the same team), Nitecap has a fun and easygoing atmosphere that’s perfect for any night of the week. Located right underneath Schapiro’s, it features a set of exquisite cocktails with exotic ingredients like pink peppercorn infused Vida Mezcal, Amaro Sfumato, and Peychaud Bitters. For anyone who can appreciate the artistry of booze, this is the spot to hit up. Don’t forget to snap some pics of your favorite drinks!
6. The Garret (West Village)
Perched on the second floor above a Five Guys Burger and Fries (you actually have to go through Five Guys to find the staircase), this exposed-brick establishment features a selection of house cocktails as well as classics like a Gimlet, Gibson, and Manhattan. Find a spot at the bar, a booth, or on one of the comfy couches, and try not to make too many runs down to Five Guys, or the coppers might just find you!
7. PDT (East Village)
PDT aka Please Don’t Tell, is hidden (behind a phone booth in Crif Dogs at St. Mark’s Place) but it’s definitely not a secret–it’s probably the most well-known on this list. But with its renowned cocktails and exposed brick/hunting lodge chic decor, PDT is a must for speakeasy lovers. Not to mention their kitchen is phenomenally talented at pairing food with drinks on the menu.
8. The Bathtub Gin (Chelsea)
Hiding behind Stone Street Coffee Company (which actually has pretty good coffee, if you’re in the market for that) is the Bathtub Gin, a true throwback to the Prohibition Era that even hosts the best NYC burlesque shows. Oh yeah, and there’s a freestanding bathtub in the middle of room. This underground speakeasy should be easy to find with the large crowds gathered outside. That’s how you know it’s going to be a fun night out.
9. Angel’s Share (East Village)
Head into Village Yokocho, find the secret door, and take the stairs up to the second floor, and you’ll find one of the best whiskey bars in the city. Make sure to check out the absurdist take on one of the Sistine Chapel frescoes, just above the bar. In case you didn’t know, “Angel’s Share” refers to the wine that gets evaporated during the barrel aging process.
10. The Blind Barber (Lower East Side)
With an actual barber shop in the front and a speakeasy in the back, the Blind Barber might be the coolest concept bar on this list. Lines are usually long, to get a haircut or a drink, but it’s completely worth it, even if you’re in a wine or beer mood. Your friends will be impressed when you manage to get into this hidden, exclusive bar. Don’t forget to snap a few bragging selfies!
11. Attaboy (Lower East Side)
This one happens to be hidden behind a front window that reads “Tailors M&H Alterations” and a steel door. Like a true blast from the past speakeasy, there’s no menu, so it’s good to go in with an idea of what you want, and the bartender will take it from there.
Bonus: Although not hidden, another spectacular NYC speakeasy is Raines Law Room. It’s a popular bar, and very well known, so it draws in crowds from far and wide, and might just be the most famous speakeasy on this list. Be forewarned, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays are reservation only.
New York City speakeasies offer everything from booze history, to culture, to a taste of the modern. There really is no better way to spend a night out, whether you’re there for the music, the people, the happy hour, or cocktails. When so few cities offer what’s available here in the capital of the world, there’s no excuse not to go out and party with friends.