Philly’s speakeasies offer foodies experiences and menus outside the city’s iconic cheesesteaks. Among them is a private bar that survived Prohibition, whereas others are passion projects. If you want delicious drinks in an intimate atmosphere, check out some of the best speakeasies in Philadelphia.
This artisan brewery is located in Philadelphia’s West Kensington neighborhood, and it may be one of the best kept secrets in the Philly beer scene. Frequent patrons might be upset that Fermentery Form is on a list for everyone to see, but the beer is so good that it would be a shame to keep it under cover. This small brewery is only open on Saturdays from 2-8pm. Additional hours are usually announced via Instagram either the day before or the day of. Visitors may have a hard time finding the brewery since it’s located down a side alley with no sign. It’s right next to Keystone Mini Golf & Arcade, and the glow of a green lightbulb will identify the door. Most of the patrons are brewers from other breweries, or staff from local restaurants. Their conversation is very industry and beer-heavy. Sip a Farmhouse Ale by the wall of barrels, and make sure to taste the SLO-MO, a beer aged on blackberry and cherry purée. Try to get there early because once they sell out of a beer, you won’t be able to get it. Cash only.
This Chinatown cocktail bar can’t be seen from the street. The small, Japanese-style hideout can be found in the back of Chinatown Square, an unassuming food court on Race Street. Upon entering, it still isn’t clear that the bar exists. Visitors will have to walk past food stalls, the bathrooms, and the steps leading up to a Korean restaurant. In the back, next to the KTV is Hi Kori, also known as the Bao Bar. The wooden awning looks like the sloping top of traditional, Japanese buildings, and the station is manned by only two bartenders. The beer list features Asian favorites like Tsingtao, Asahi, Tiger beer, Sapporo, and Kuninocho. Their Happy Hour specials include a Tsingtao and a shot of Baiju, Sapporo and Sake shot, or a Hite and Soju shot. Their speakeasy-style cocktail list features alcohol infused with matcha, green tea, oolong tea, and ginger. They specialize in Japanese street food which pairs perfectly with the drinks.
This speakeasy cabaret and social club was founded in 1914, giving it over a hundred years of history. The club can be found in Philly’s Northern Liberties neighborhood and is only open Thursday through Sunday from 10pm-3am. It has two floors and houses a vintage, speakeasy bar, dance floor, and theatrical stage. While the club is open to the public frequently for shows, it’s membership-only, costing $35 for the year. Members get reduced after-hours admission, as well as the ability to rent the space for private events and parties. Open an hour later than most bars in Philly, Ruba is where artists, industry professionals, and neighbors gather for once last cocktail.
According to its website, this is one of the oldest operating press clubs in America. The bar only serves working members of the press, and the people who support them. The general public usually can’t get in, unless they happen to befriend a local writer or journalist. Established in 1892, the bar was able to stay open during Prohibition due to its connections. In 1892 Philadelphia had nearly a dozen newspapers, and the journalists behind them needed a place to drink, complain, and swap ideas. The bar hosts book talks, wine tasting events, and poetry nights. While the club has a speakeasy atmosphere, the drink menu sticks to classic Philly beers like Yards and Yuengling. From the outside, it looks like nothing more than an abandoned warehouse. The red, fluorescent P&P sign in the window is the only thing that gives it away. The lighting is dim and the decor gives off a dive-bar feel rather than a sophisticated speakeasy. It’s a laid-back watering hole for Philly writers who need a place to unwind.
Plush, red leather booths, ornate wallpaper, and a chandelier give this speakeasy an elegant atmosphere. Visitors venture down an alleyway and look for the black door with two Rs on the outside. Once inside, guests are met by a hostess who will make them wait until a seat opens up at this tiny establishment. It’s dimly lit with photographs of classy nude women, framed in gold. The bartenders are dressed in white button-down shirts with ties, and they look like mad scientists as they concoct drinks. The drink list features artisanal options like Love on the Rum, made with egg yolk, apple juice, rum, rye, and butter maple syrup. If you want a traditional, speakeasy feel, the Ranstead Room won’t disappoint.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.