Back in the day, speakeasies were where people hid from the law to drink on the down low. Alcohol’s now legal, but who doesn’t love a little role play of the “knock three times” variety? We sleuthed nooks and alleyways across the country and around the globe for the best under-the-radar Prohibition-style bars. Here’s a starter list; keep it on the hush.
(Sort of) Local
To find Philly’s just-opened Ranstead Room, look for the door marked with two R’s in the alley behind El Rey restaurant. Inside, browse a heady cocktail menu designed by Milk and Honey’s Sasha Petraske (2013 Chestnut Street, entrance on Ranstead Street).
Cleveland’s Speakeasy is stealthily hidden beneath Bier Market. If the chandelier is lit, you can enter. Indecisive? Order the Barkeep’s Whim.
West Coasters can revel in San Diego’s Noble Experiment, backed by another Milk and Honey alum, bartender Sam Ross. Accessed only via a hidden keg-wall doorway inside the restaurant Neighborhood, Noble serves impressive drinks like the new summer Tattletale (Scotch, Islay, honey, bitters, citrus twist).
To get into Sonoma’s new Prohibition Speakeasy Wine Club, enter through a phone booth in an attached wine shop. Sip on rare-label wines, craft beers, and wine cocktails while black and white films flicker on a back wall.
Toronto’s BarChef is no secret (mix master Frankie Solarik is a household name), but Canada’s ahead of the game nonetheless. The menu is divided into Molecular (vanilla hickory-smoked Manhattan), Cocktails (Roasted Lemonade), and Seasonal (sample spring’s Bitter Velvet). You can’t go wrong.
Way, Way South
Der Raum, a tiny, dark, German-centric Melbourne bar, specializes in seasonal cocktails, hand-pressed juice, and giant ice cubes designed to melt slowly.
“Life has to have some rules, otherwise you might as well go and live in France” tops the menu at Amsterdam’s Door 74 (Reguliersdwarsstraat 74). Find the correct unmarked door, ring the doorbell, order The Fourth Regiment — Kentucky bourbon; sweet vermouth; and a blend of celery, orange, and aromatic bitters — and stay ’til dawn.
Oui, Oui, Paris
Fear not the stern-faced doorman guarding the unmarked, clandestine Prescription Cocktail Club (23 rue Mazarine, sixth arrondissement). The tasty Florida Tarragon (tarragon-infused vodka, house-made passion fruit syrup) is the perfect nightcap.
Psst. Uncover more covert cocktail spots here.
Photos: Foxtongue/ Flickr; Courtesy of Speakeasy; Courtesy of Noble; Experiment; Courtesy of Barchef
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