Sneaking into an alleyway and entering a secret bar brings alive the old-world romance of city travels. From Chicago’s classic speakeasy to bars hidden behind bookcases and florists, here are ten of our favourite speakeasies.
Room 13, Chicago
Chicago’s Room 13 is the city’s most exclusive drinking experience. Those who are not Al Capone can access the bar with a password, which you get by staying at the Old Chicago Inn. Alternatively, you can apply for a yearly membership. Room 13 is located next to the Inn, on an appropriately shadowy alleyway. All cocktails are made with alcohol available in the prohibition era, so this is a great spot for Old Fashioned.
Floreria Atlantico, Buenos Aires
Located in the hipster neighbourhood of Retiro, Floreria Atlantico is one of Latin America’s best bars. The entrance goes through a florist’s shop, where you step into a refrigerator and descend to the cellar bar. Floreria Atlantico serves an array of drinks from home infused gins to classic cocktails as well as snacks from grilled octopus to lemony frog’s legs.
Trillby & Chadwick, Helsinki
Trillby & Chadwick is a gentleman’s club Sherlock Holmes would have approved of. Located on an old cobblestoned street, in the shadows of the Helsinki Cathedral, this Scandi take on a speakeasy is decorated according to late 19th-century fashion. In Trillby & Chadwick it is easy to forget the modern world – no cameras and phones allowed!
The SG Club, Tokyo
One of Asia’s best bars, The SG Club is located in the buzzing Shibuya district. The bar has two levels, Guzzle and Sip, each with different themes. Head down to the cellar bar Sip, a cavernous yet elegant speakeasy with a Japanese mafia-style twist. All alcohol is created in an in-house lab, and while sampling the creative cocktails you can get your shoes polished, too!
Knowhere Special is London’s crown jewel when it comes to speakeasies. The bar used to be the holding cells of a Victorian police station but the cosy sofas and dim lights will wipe the grisly past from your mind – with the help of tasty cocktails: try the Grow Your Own Martini, based on house infused pink peppercorn vodka.
The Barber Shop, Sydney
As any speakeasy-loving sleuth can deduct from its name, The Barber Shop is located behind a barber’s. An industrial steel door separates the bar from the barber’s benches, and the bar’s decor follows the urban mood set by the entrance. The menu has a lot of gins to choose from – with Plymouth Gin on tap!
Foxglove, Hong Kong
Inspired by the ideal English gentleman, the entrance to this Hong Kong speakeasy is disguised as a fancy umbrella shop. The bar’s interior hails vintage cars and aeroplanes, and features a cream-coloured, curving ceiling and blue leather sofas. This speakeasy fits like a glove for anyone who likes a touch of old-world romance on their travels!
Berlin is full of good bars, and this fairytale for adults is the best. The speakeasy is located opposite Märchenbrunnen, Fountain of Fairytales, in Friedrichshain’s Volkspark. The bar is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Grimm’s fairytales: the staff is dressed accordingly, the drink menu is a pop-up fairytale book and some drinks are served in glass slippers!
Employees only, Singapore
The New York based Employees Only’s Singapore branch is as good as its award-winning big sister. Employees Only has a cool Art Deco vibe – but you have to find the place first! Don’t let the sign for a fortune teller’s parlour fool you, but step inside. Once in, try the classic Employees Only Manhattan, an infusion of Italian vermouth, Angostura Bitters, orange curaçao and rye whiskey.
PDT, New York
It is not Doctor Who fans, but cocktail enthusiasts who enter an old phone booth in a small hot dog shop: this is the entrance to PDT. Please Don’t Tell has sourced the best of New York’s bar tenders, who mix fabulous drinks served alongside fries and, yes, hot dogs. Even though the hidden bar asks for secrecy, it is one of the most famous speakeasies in the world. Thanks to its cocktails. And the sexy vibes. And the hot dogs.