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One of our favorite things about living in the Big Apple is just how many hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. Case in point: these ultra-cool and oh-so-secret drinking dens (well, secret-ish). For historical context, speakeasies were a big thing in the 1920s when purchasing and consuming alcohol was illegal. Once the Prohibition Era ended, these hush-hush bars no longer had to operate clandestinely but continued to be popular, nonetheless. And these days, these covert spots are downright trendy (because who doesn’t want to sneak into an exclusive locale?). So, if you’re looking to upgrade your drinking experience (and impress your friends), here are 12 speakeasy-themed spots in NYC that are definitely worth checking out.

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Speakeasies in NYC CAT
Courtesy of The UES

1. UES Storage Room

Satisfy your sweet tooth at this Manhattan ice cream shop first, then sneak behind a door (decorated in different pint flavors) to enter a hidden dark and gilded drinking den. Now, don’t expect regular ol’ cocktails here. The Storage Room has a host of fun and interesting drinks to choose from like the Cooper Plus Hewitt (chipotle chili infused tequila in a light bulb), I Left My Heart In Yorkville (blueberry-infused gin in a heart-shaped glass) and The Next Stop Is Hunter College (a boozy ice cream cone of rum and chocolate). Cheers.

1707 2nd Ave; 646-559-5889 or theuesnyc.com

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2. Basement

Finding a bar with good food and drinks is OK, but what about kicking back in an NYC speakeasy with arcade games too? Once you enter through a Coca-Cola door, you’ll find a part bar, part game room. Grab yourself a drink (we like the 5 Spiced Life or HK Milk Punch) and challenge your friends to a beer pong or darts match. Oh, and loser buys a whole round for the winning team.

45 Mott St.; 929-777-1388 or basementchinatown.com

best speakeasy nyc garfunkles
Courtesy of Garfunkle's

3. Garfunkel’s

After indulging in a juicy burger at The Burgary, make your way over to their second floor for their full-scale bar. And BTW, you’ll find it behind a huge bank vault door (we’re not kidding). See, this speakeasy was initially a (corrupt) bank firm so expect to step right into a bit of NYC history featuring velvet couches, a library and 1920’s decor. The LES bar has cool cocktails like TNT (a shaken tequila mix) and Nightwatch (a scotch and run blend), but we suggest asking the bartender to surprise you with something special.

67 Clinton St.; 212-529-6900 or garfunkelsnyc.com

Speakeasies in NYC Attaboy
Courtesy of Attaboy

4. Attaboy

If you’re walking the streets of NYC, you just might miss this one. The bar’s entrance looks like a typical apartment door (marked with a subtle “AB”). But ring the bell and a bartender might let you in. And FYI, don’t expect a drinks menu. The mixologists at this LES spot sling handcrafted cocktails to match your personal preferences. Fancy.

134 Eldridge St.; attaboy.us/nyc

best speakeasy nyc apotheke
Courtesy of Apotheke NYC

5. Apotheke

OK, any door with the word “Chemist” written on it has to be intriguing, no? Go through the wooden door and immerse yourself in a mixologist lab. You’ll find bartenders in lab coats creating the most intricate cocktails that are both delicious and aesthetically pleasing. We’re fans of the Sitting Buddha (a vodka with pineapple and ginger), Paid Vacation (a mezcal-tequila blend) or the Devil’s Playground (a fruity gin mix).

9 Doyers St.; 212-406-0400 or apothekemixology.com

6. La Noxe

Next stop: A speakeasy hidden inside an NYC subway station. Yup, this Chelsea location is only visible the second you step off the train and head to the south east bound exit. But don’t let the gritty location fool you—step inside and you’ll feel like you’re in a chic Instagram-inspired apartment. While you’re admiring the interior, ask for the Uptown Local (aka dark and pineapple rum combo), Tangiers Sunset (a gin-Aperol mix) or snack on their Mediterranean bites.

315 7th Ave.; 917-477-3103 or lanoxenyc.com

7. The Garret

You’re never going to look at your local Five Guys the same way again. The West Village location, in particular, has a hidden bar that you might’ve overlooked. Trick your date by walking them all the way to the back, pass the employees-only door and up the stairs to a fun surprise. The intimate setting is great for small groups and sipping elegant cocktails like The First Lady (gin, matcha green tea and egg white mix) or Champagne Cocktail (Processo and cognac blend).

296 Bleecker St.; thegarretwest.com

8. Patent Pending

Grab yourself a coffee in the morning and head to the back for a drink at night. The NOMAD spot is electrifying...literally. With bright light bulbs illuminating the bar selection in the back of the coffee shop, this speakeasy can’t be missed. Aspiring mixologists will especially appreciate the menu featuring intricate details about each signature cocktail straight from an inventor’s notebook. Check out the Radio Waves (a tequila specialty) or Strange Magic (a vodka, prosecco, seltzer mix) for starters.

49 West 27th St.; 212-689-4002 or patentpendingnyc.com

9. Please Don’t Tell

With a name like Please Don’t Tell, you know what you’re getting yourself into at this clandestine spot. (Even the website doesn’t give away any details.) As soon as you enter Crif Dogs (a hot dog spot), step inside their phone booth for a set of instructions how to get inside this exclusive place. Once inside, order some classic drinks (like a mezcal mule or old fashioned) or specialty cocktails (like Good Thyme, a gin and wine fusion).

113 Marks Pl.; pdtnyc.com

10. Raines Law Room

The OG of speakeasies is this Chelsea pick. Go downstairs and ring the bell to step right into the 1920s. And forget about asking for a drink at the bar—at this swish joint you have to ring the bell for service. Whether you need a hot date spot or someplace quiet to catch up with a friend, this spot and their selection of tasty drinks is guaranteed to be a hit.

48 West 17th St.; raineslawroom.com/chelsea

11. Beauty and Essex

Need a pawn shop? We know just the place. Oh, and it so happens to have a restaurant, lounge and bar roll into one space too. Browse through the vintage gems before heading over for a bite. We recommend gin cocktails like The Pink Panther and Beauty Elixir.

146 Essex St.; 212-614-0146 or taogroup.com/venues/beauty-essex-new-york

best speakeasy nyc bathtub gin
Courtesy of Bathtub Gin

12. Bathtub Gin

Speaking of gin specials, fans of the liquor will enjoy this Chelsea find that’s hidden behind a coffee shop. Although they have different cocktail options, you’ll appreciate their long list of special gin & tonic mixtures (like Gunpowder Gin or Dorothy Parker Rose). And while you’re perusing their drink options, enjoy live jazz music on Wednesdays or a burlesque show on Tuesdays.

132 9th Ave.; 646-559-1671 or bathtubginnyc.com

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