Los Angeles has a long history of hidden bars and speakeasies, dating back to the prohibition era. In the past few years there has been a boom in these back alley, hidden door establishments. All of the places on our list are must see, but you may have to put in a little effort to find your way inside. Here’s our list of the best secret bars to visit in LA.
Bar, American, $$$
The Montage Beverly Hills, hides £10 (Ten Pound), a secret bar that specializes in single malt Scotch. The bar can be accessed via the hidden staircase, where lucky patrons will find a luxurious private lounge. In addition to the superior Scotch, you can also pair your drink with pressed bacon and aged cheddar. Keep in mind that there is a $50 minimum per person.
Looks like it's closedHours or services may be impacted due to Covid-19
Located in South Pasadena, 1886 may be a bit hard to find if you aren’t already dining at The Raymond, the charming restaurant that houses the hidden 1886 Bar. The bar can be found in the back of the restaurant and patrons can chose from any of the 600 house cocktails that regularly rotate on the menu. There’s always something new to sample every time you return.
Der Wolfskopf is a bar in Pasadena that houses a secret bar in its basement. The only way to access it is to be a regular or to use your charm to talk your way inside. Once inside you’ll find Bavarian inspired-dishes and beers.
The Del Monte is beneath the Townhouse near the Venice Beach Pier. They host live music, comedy and burlesque in this former speakeasy that actually operated during Prohibition. To get inside, you must first go through Menotti’s grocery store before descending the staircase to find this historic bar.
The Edison is housed in an old power plant which can only be accessed by heading down an alley and descending a staircase. Patrons are encouraged to come dressed in 1920s attire and can enjoy an extensive cocktail and food menu. Visit on a Thursday when the Edison hosts its burlesque performance night.
El Tigre gives meaning to the true secret speakeasy as it’s housed in an apartment. The bar has a host of interesting cocktails that include unusual ingredients like rocket lettuce. The only way to gain entry is to follow @eltigrecoctails on Instagram, and then hope for an invite.
To get into Davey Wayne’s you have to go in through the garage and then through the only door available, which happens to be a refrigerator. Inside you are met with kitsch 70s decor, signature cocktails, a really delicious bar menu, and a DJ spinning the hottest hits from yesteryear.
Bar Jackalope, Los Angeles | Courtesy of The Chestnut Club
Bar Jackalope is a tiny secret bar housed in Seven Grand. It calls itself an ‘intimate Whiskey Tasting Library’. There’s a phone and light with instructions on gaining entry. There are only three drinks on the menu and all of them contain Japanese whisky.
La Descarga is a Latin inspired bar with decor that screams 1950s Havana. To get inside you’ll be shown to an office by the doorman who’ll read you the rules then show you to the closet. Inside patrons are treated to nightly floorshows complete with live jazz bands and dancers. Be aware that there is a dress code.
The exterior of Lock & Key is really unassuming, which adds to its mystery. Once inside, there are a series of doorknobs. Hopeful patrons will no doubt have to turn a few in order to figure out how to get in. Once inside enjoy craft cocktails and specialty food.
Lost Property isn’t so much secret as hidden. It stands just off Hollywood Blvd with no sign and no real indication that it exists. The menu is top notch and they specialize in high end whiskies and scotches. They also boast live music Tuesday through Thursday.
No Vacancy | Courtesy of Houston Hospitality/Credit: Luke Gibson
No Vacancy, which used to be a brothel, serves up a jazz-age feel as soon as you set foot through the doors. Once past the doorman, patrons can only enter with permission from a scantily clad, NV employee. Inside you are met with tasty cocktails made with the wide assortment of bitters at the barkeeps’ disposal.
The Federal Bar in Long Beach, can be found inside a former bank. The Parlour Lounge, the secret bar hidden inside, is beneath the bank in an old vault. To get to the lounge, find the secret door in the back of The Federal by the bathrooms, then know the secret password.
R Bar can be found in Koreatown and is known for hosting bands or karaoke nights. It’s only marking is an R on the outside, and you must know the password to get in. Not too tricky as this can be found on the bar’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Housed in an alley by Robano’s Pizza in Toluca Lake, The Red Door, is a Latin themed lounge with great drinks and excellent food. It doesn’t have any signage, but definitely has a red door, making it only slightly easier to locate.
Seventy7 Lounge in Culver City often hosts burlesque shows, which you can enjoy along with a stiff drink, provided you can find it. There’s a cocktail sign in the alley above a door. Entry is granted on the approval of the bouncer. They also have another location, Seventy7 North, in Studio City.
The Varnish sits behind a door in the back of Cole’s restaurant. Once inside patrons are transported back to the jazz era with the vintage decor of this small speakeasy. Visit on Sinful Sundays, where dirty songs from the 20s are played.