TIP: Hidden Restaurants, Bars & Speakeasies in NYC

Photo Courtesy of Vandal

Speakeasies were a place for the illegal sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks during Prohibition. During that time bars were hidden above, behind or below storefronts or had secret entrances. After Prohibition ended in 1933, the term Speakeasy is now used to describe nostalgic secret bars. Here are some of our favorite hidden restaurants, bars & speakeasies throughout the city.

124 Old Rabbit
124 Macdougal Street
Accessed by pressing a buzzer, this skinny cellar pub features a long list of mostly European beers. TIP: Look for the rabbit painted on the brick wall next to the door.

Angel's Share
8 Stuyvesant Street

Angel's Share since 1994 -- Elegant drink parlor hidden inside (upstairs through an unmarked door) a Japanese restaurant. No more than 4 people/group. Winner of Bacardi 2012 Global Legacy Competition. TIP: Go early (6PM) to avoid a wait.

Apothéke NYC

9 Doyers Street
The entrance is beneath a neon "Chemist" sign. Mixologists in pharmacist-style garb whip up complex cocktails at this off-the-beaten path hideaway. TIP: Apotheke accommodates parties of 6-20 for reservations. Walk-ins and tables are offered on a first-come, first-seated basis up until 9pm. After 9pm, entry is at door discretion and reservations are required for guaranteed admittance. To book a reservation on a Friday or Saturday evening, there is a $50 per person minimum spend.

Après Ski Fondue Chalet at Cafe Select
212 Lafayette Street
A hidden ski chalet accessed through the kitchen of Cafe Select. TIP: Walk through the door that says "No Entry, Employees Only." Reservations available.

Arcade Bakery
220 Church Street
Looking for fresh bread? Check out this bakery hidden inside the lobby of a Tribeca Office building. TIP: Open Monday - Friday 8AM-4PM.

134 Elderidge Street
Speakeasy by the bartenders for (now closed) milk & honey. TIP: No reservations. First come, first served. Look for the sign that says "Tailors M&H Alterations" and ring the doorbell.

Auction House

300 E. 89th Street
Romantic upscale lounge with red-velvet drapes, mahogany bar, gorgeous paintings, intimate tables and marble fireplace. TIP: Reservations 212.427.4458 or theauctionhousenyc@gmail.com.

Back Room
102 Norfolk Street

The Back Room is one of only two speakeasies in New York City that operated during Prohibition and is still in existence today. The original 1920’s speakeasy, known simply as “The Back of Ratner’s,” played host to many theater and movie actors of the “Roaring Twenties,” as well as famous gangsters of the era. These gangsters included Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. They were known to use the space for “business meetings.” Visit The Back Room and use the same hidden entrance (behind a toy store) that was used 85 years ago. Enjoy a cocktail from a teacup—the way people used to secretly drink during prohibition! TIP: Reservations 212.228.5098 or thebackroomnyc@yahoo.com.

Bar Centrale
324 W. 46th Street
A bar hidden inside a brownstone townhouse. TIP: Reservations are strongly recommended and taken up to one week in advance 212.581.3130. Bar Centrale cannot accommodate parties larger than 6. Only 2 credit cards per table.

Bathtub Gin

139 9th Avenue

Behind a secret door in a coffee shop is this dark and intimate cocktail bar which hosts live burlesque shows. Small plates are paired with gin-based cocktails at this speakeasy-style bar. Gin was the predominant drink in the United States during the Prohibition-Era 1920's and many variations were created. "Bathtub gin" was developed in response to the poor-quality of alcohol that was available at the time; because of the 18th Amendment specifically prohibiting the sale or manufacture of distilled alcohol, producers of gin were forced to use denatured alcohol. By mixing it with other flavorings, such as juniper berries, and allowing the mixture to steep in a tub for several hours or even days, the gin became more drinkable. TIP: Reservations available.

Beauty & Essex

146 Essex
A happening restaurant/lounge hidden behind a pawn shop, with American food and upscale cocktails by the TAO Group and Chef Chris Santos. TIP: Reservations available.

57 Great Jones Street

Japanese speakeasy hidden behind a butcher shop. Bohemian is only accessible via a personal reference on a secret reservation phone number. Reservations taken by phone after 3PM. TIP: 212.388.1070

Dear Irving

55 Irving PlaceDear 
Irving is a cocktail parlor owned by the team behind the Raines Law Room and located in the Union Square/Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. Upscale speakeasy. TIP: Reservations are encouraged. Press the buzzer at your table for service.

Death & Co.

433 E. 6th Street

Look for a storefront on 6th Street with wooden panels instead of windows and "Death & Co." written in metal letters on the concrete. TIP: Death & Co. does not take reservations. Seating is first come, first served. If there happens to be a wait upon your arrival, the door team will take your name and number and get in touch when seats become available.

Employees Only

510 Hudson Street
Tucked away behind a psychic readings storefront. Known for it's skilled mixologists/bartenders & late night dinners. TIP: Avoid the long line by making dinner reservations 212.242.3021.

Fig. 19

131 1/2 Chrystie Street
A secret art-gallery entry reveals this cozy, chandelier-lit hideaway spotlighting craft cocktails. TIP: Walk through The Lodge Gallery above Home Sweet Home and open up a narrow white door in the back left corner. 

La Esquina

114 Kenmare Street
Identified outside as "The Corner" La Esquina is hidden below the taqueria. Disappear through the door inside the narrow taqueria, through the kitchen and into the dimly lit main brasserie. TIP: Make a dinner reservation and you'll have access to the bar.

Lantern's Keep
49 W 44th Street
Lantern's Keep is an intimate NYC cocktail bar, offering a distinctively Downtown atmosphere in the heart of Midtown Manhattan hidden inside the Iroquois Hotel. TIP: Reservations recommended 212.453.4287 or lanternskeepreservations@gmail.com.

Little Branch

20 7th Avenue
Down some stairs and nestled in a basement, this speakeasy offers handcrafted cocktails in a dim and cozy space. TIP: Arrive early. Seating is strictly on a first come, first serve.

Lovers of Today
131 1/2 E 7th Street
Snug & dark speakeasy-style haunt with happy hour specials & a menu of specialty cocktails. TIP: Look for the gate marked 131 1/2.

Manhattan Cricket Club
226 W. 79th Street
3 rooms designed to feel like a small 1870's apartment Hidden inside Burke & Willis restaurant. The bathrooms are behind hidden sliding glass doors. TIP: Although this is a membership-based club, non-Members are accepted on a walk-in only basis for groups up to 6 people. See the Host at Burke & Wills to be escorted through the Green Leather Door past the long bar.

Middle Branch
154 E 33rd Street
Bi-level speakeasy hidden in Murray Hill. Find a hidden door and pull back the curtain to enter the standing only basement. Then head through the french doors to head to the upstairs lounge. TIP: First come first served. 

Mulberry Project
149 Mulberry Street
Bespoke cocktails are mixed for you at this subterranean speakeasy, with an elaborate street art collection and back yard patio for summer BBQs. TIP: Reservations available. Look for the bright red door.

120 Rivington Street
Drinking den under Schapiro's restaurant with creative, high-end cocktails in a dark, hip space. TIP: Reservations accepted for parties of eight or more info@nitecapnyc.com. Smaller groups are first come, first served. 

PDT (Please Don't Tell)
113 St. Marks Place
PDT is accessed through a vintage telephone booth in a hot dog restaurant "Crif Dogs." TIP: Use the phone in the telephone booth to make a reservation or call ahead 212.614.0386.

11 Doyers Street
Hidden Mexican restaurant in Chinatown offering creative cocktails plus nibbles like tacos. TIP: Reservations available. Descend the staircase and look for a doorway with the zig zag pattern.

Raines Law Room

48 W 17th Street
Press the button on an unmarked door in Chelsea to enter this popular and sophisticated Chelsea cocktail lounge. TIP: Reservations for Sundays, Mondays & Tuesdays only. Pull buzzer chain at your table for service.

Raines Law Room at The William

24 E 39th StreetThe team behind the popular and sophisticated Chelsea cocktail lounge The Raines Law Room, opened their second location at The William in Midtown East. Enter through the lower level through The Shakespeare Pub. TIP: Reservations accepted Monday-Saturday. 

Smith and Mills
71 N Moore Street
Tiny bar/restaurant in a converted carriage house with vintage decor & a noteworthy bathroom. TIP: No reservations accepted. Look for rustic barn doors across from the Greenwich Hotel.

Society of Illustrators: Dining Room & Bar

128 E 63rd Street
The Dining Room, located within the Hall of Fame Gallery on the third floor is one of the many unique retreats in the Society's headquarters. A charming and inviting spot where members, friends and their guests can have lunch, brunch, or enjoy the venue for memorable occasions. Complete with a bar decorated by an original Norman Rockwell (gifted to the Society by the artist himself) and a glorious outdoor patio, the Society of Illustrators offers diners an experience where the space is as fantastic as the food.  TIP: Although this is a membership-based club it has monthly brunches and dinners open to the public.

Sons of Essex

133 Essex
Located behind a coffee shop/commissary. The Sons of Essex menu is a reflection of the diverse melting pot of cultures that has gentrified the Lower East Side. The old school ‘Bowery Boys’ atmosphere and ‘Gangs of New York’ vibe pays homage to the history of the Lower East Side, fusing a traditional american comfort food menu with a diverse range of spices of Lower East Side immigrants past with the use of local ingredients and Essex Street Market fruits & vegetables. TIP: Reservations available.

The Garret
296 Bleecker Street
Second-floor bar with exposed brick, serving cocktails & Five Guys burgers from downstairs. TIP: Go to the back of Five Guys on the first floor to find the stairs up to The Garret. No reservations.

The Wooly
11 Barclay Street
A bar hidden in the first floor of the Woolworth Building. Available for private events as well.
TIP: Email contact@thewooly.com for reservations.

199 Bowery

Walk through a florist to get to the restaurant. Located on Bowery, a street that dates back to the 17th century, Vandal is the latest restaurant lounge by the TAO Group and Chef Chris Santos. Vandal celebrates the art, architecture, and food of global street culture from New York to Vietnam to Barcelona and beyond, as well as the history and culture of the restaurant’s Lower East Side location. The two-level space includes a bar/lounge, restaurant, garden dining area, private dining room, and cellar bar/lounge. TIP: Make reservations far in advance. Most coveted times (Between 5:30-11PM) are reserved for their preferred clientele.