The Best Speakeasy Bars In New York City

Explore the artsy, buzzy East Village on your next trip to NYC
Explore the artsy, buzzy East Village on your next trip to NYC | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Jinny Kim

Although the Prohibition era is over, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill of secret bars with hidden entrances. Behind its bright lights and skyscrapers, New York City hides some of the best gems. It just requires a little more attentive search. Here’s our list of the top 10 speakeasy bars in NYC.

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Apotheke

Courtesy of Apotheke
Marked by a chemist sign outside the door, the chemist theme runs throughout the bar. Apotheke has over two hundred cocktails that are carefully made with art and skill. They host jazz on Mondays and Tuesdays. Keep in mind that the dress code is strict, so dress nice.

Raines Law Room

Courtesy of The Back Room/ © Troy Hahn
Raines Law Room, on West 17th Street, features an unmarked stairwell that visitors venture down to ring the doorbell. You will be greeted by a host and ushered into a cozy den with music from the 1920s. Curtained booths and service bells for waiters are some of the interesting traits at this classy speakeasy.

The Back Room

Be on the lookout for a sign that reads ‘Lower East Side Toy Company,’ and enter through the gate, down an alley and up a flight of stairs. The Back Room, an original speakeasy that operated during Prohibition, maintains an old-time feel, serving your drinks in teacups and bottles of beer in paper bags to hide the fact that you’re drinking alcohol.

The Garret

Courtesy of Death & Company
Located above a Five Guys burger joint, The Garret offers great views of the West Village and a wide drink selection. This hidden bar is cool for its ambience, décor and cocktails.

Death & Company

Death & Company is a classy and elegant speakeasy with Gothic flair. Paired with dim lighting and a generally dark and moody vibe, this bar does everything to create the ideal speakeasy experience. With a diverse selection of spirits, there is something for everyone. If regular bars that serve typical shots and beer bore you, this speakeasy is the place to go, as you can have some of the most inventive cocktails here. It is more of a sit-down type of place than a stand-up bar crammed with people.

PDT (Please Don’t Tell)

PDT features a secret entrance, intimate setting and great, friendly bartenders. To get into Please Don’t Tell, enter the hotdog place called Crif Dog. Once inside, you need to go to the phone booth to call the bar. A hostess will greet you on the other side to walk you through to the bar. The bar has a cool vibe with dim lighting and solid brick walls.

Attaboy

Created by Milk & Honey’s bartenders, don’t expect to get a drinks list at this bar. Instead, the bartender will ask you what types of drinks you enjoy to customize your own cocktail. The drinks are strong, and the atmosphere is cozy. To find this bar, look for the neon ‘A’ on its window.

Dear Irving

Inspired by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Dear Irving has four rooms, each representing a specific historical era. This bar was founded by the people behind Raines Law Room and provides top notch drinks. It also has a personal buzzer, and once pressed, the waiter will be right with you.

Little Branch

To find this bar, look for a maroon door with a bouncer sitting outside. Once you make yourself comfortable, tell the bartender your favorite type of alcohol, and he or she will give you a massive list of cocktails from which to choose. Little Branch also has an upright piano that accompanies jazz performances.

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