Speakeasy Bars to Visit Before You Die | Wine Enthusiast
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Speakeasies Aren’t Secret Anymore—But That’s Beside the Point at These Extravagant Spots

Once secret spots for illicit drinking, speakeasies are now staples of bar culture. Borne of necessity during Prohibition, which lasted in the United States from 1920 until 1933, these hidden spaces were concealed venues where patrons could buy and consume boozy beverages out of sight of law enforcement and Temperance movement do-gooders.  

Of course, Prohibition didn’t actually stop people from drinking. Rather, it fueled a desire for bars and lounges that were, often by necessity, small, dark and windowless. Once alcohol was legalized again, many of these moody, private spaces endured. Then, in the early aughts, the craft cocktail movement dovetailed with a resurgence of modern speakeasies that captured a mysterious, Prohibition-era vibe. Today, fervor for these spaces—pioneered by bars like The Blind Barber and Please Don’t Tell, both in New York City—has hit full tilt, spreading to cities on nearly every continent.  

Some modern speakeasies have become status symbols for the “if you know, you know” crowd, offering unique aesthetics and high-end drinking experiences. Many reveal their locations or nightly passwords only on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, adding to an air of exclusivity.  

They often look the part, too, with themed decor and dramatic lighting. Some evoke a vintage 1920s look, while others feature innovative interiors based on another era or an escapist theme. Naturally, digs like these require equally impressive cocktails, and many establishments boast impressive menus that regularly land them in drinking guides. 

As for the speakeasies that deserve a spot on your must-visit list? From a cavernous bar accessed via a flower shop to a fake detective agency and even a hidden bar within a hidden bar, these spots from around the globe offer both exciting experiences and delicious cocktails. 

Deep Dive

Seattle, Washington

Deep Dive
Photography by Haris Kenjar for Deep Dive

This vintage-style lounge is tucked away at the base of The Spheres, Amazon’s futuristic campus in Downtown Seattle. Inspired by marquee hotel bars around the world and with a subtle “under the sea” theme, Deep Dive resembles a worldly collector’s vault.  

Its many softly illuminated cabinets and niches are adorned with eccentric objects, artwork and vignettes curated by local artist-gardner Curtis Steiner. Several sculptural floral arrangements add to the intrigue. Seats with deep blue velvet and leather tufted upholstery, plenty of dark wood paneling and a swooping ceiling all provide a sense of intimacy.  

The menu by chef Colin Pentinnen encourages wine and cocktail pairings with the food, with recommendations such as the Low, Sloe and Sour—a take on a Sloe gin fizz—and Ramon’s Margarita, which blends banana liqueur, pineapple and a habanero tincture. 


Hong Kong 

Image Courtesy of Foxglove

In Hong Kong’s Central neighborhood, Foxglove offers an escapist theme designed around a fictional character, Frank Minza, an English gentleman and “a death-defying adventurer with a taste for rare spirits,” according to operator Ming Fat House.  

The spot’s design elements nod to the golden age of aviation and travel, such as a replica of a 1940s Gloster jet engine mounted behind the stage, which regularly hosts live music. Deep purple seats contrast the white-lacquered coffered ceiling that curves over the bar.  

Cocktails are also inspired by that time period, and the accompanying dim sum menu offers “lyrical flavors, harmonious extracts and nostalgic nuances.” Highlights include the fizzy, fruity White Punch and the Test Pilot, which pairs tropical and coffee flavors and is served in a tiki mug.  

Don’t miss out on Frank’s Library—a speakeasy within a speakeasy—which is hidden behind closed curtains and an elevator panel that guests need to unlock in order to enter. 

Buck and Breck


Buck and Breck
Image Courtesy of Buck and Breck

If you’re planning to take pictures on your visit to Buck and Breck, you’ll be disappointed. Cell phones are banned inside this discrete spot on Brunnenstrasse in Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood, where, behind an unassuming and frequently changing street facade (making it tricky to locate), visitors must ring a doorbell to enter.  

The bartender literally takes center stage here, creating cocktails in the middle of a communal table from color-coded bottles for up to 30 guests at a time. The sleek, contemporary interiors feature a crocodile skin-patterned bar top illuminated by five cylindrical overhead lights, and seats positioned around the bar and in booths on stepped levels.

The creative menu changes frequently and depends on the bartender’s whims. (Also to note: It’s closed on Saturdays.) 

Bank Bar


Bank Bar
Image Courtesy of The Moment Group

Perhaps the last place you’d expect to find a chic cocktail lounge is through a 7-Eleven in Manila’s Taguig City. But walk through a stock room, draw back the black curtain and you’ll find this lively little oasis that’s usually busy, colorfully lit and lots of fun.  

The lively spirit is echoed in decor that includes a colonnade of arched cutouts that frame a huge mirror behind the bar (it’s great for people watching) as well as on a screen digitally programmed with quirky imagery.  

The drink list—amongst the most extensive in Manila—is equally vivacious. Highlights include the whiskey-based Due Diligence and the fruity Queen’s Park Swizzle. It’s worth noting that a strict attire code is enforced: no shorts, sandals or cut-off tees are permitted, so dress to impress for guaranteed entry. 


Mexico City 

Handshake Speakeasy
Image Courtesy of Handshake Speakeasy

Once you find it, this two-level venue tucked away in trendy Colonia Juarez is all glossy black, shiny brass and elegant marble surfaces across its mid-century-influenced interiors.  

Upstairs, it’s a chic speakeasy with futuristic touches: There’s a cooling system under the bar that keeps glasses frosty. Downstairs, along the “staff-only” corridors and beyond a false wall, is a completely different area splashed with graffiti, where R&B plays all night.  

From bar director Eric Van Beek’s carefully crafted drinks list, try the unusual mutter Mushroom Old Fashioned that contains and is served with enoki mushrooms, or the curiously tropical and savory Mexi-Thai that combines tequila with makrut lime, coconut, basil oil and tomato. 

Evans & Peel


Evans & Peel
Image Courtesy of Evans & Peel

This bar in London’s Chelsea neighborhood fully leans into its detective agency theme, and guests can even submit their “case” to the Evans & Peel team for personalized service upon arrival.  

Inside, an old-school vibe is created by exposed brickwork, dim lighting and details such as liquor bottles displayed in glass vitrines like evidence exhibits, as well as a large storage file cabinet for all of the agency’s case records.  

Guests are treated to a program of live music and the menu—which is designed to look like a detective’s notebook—features drinks named after infamous moonshiners, bootleggers, bandits and “special cases.” But ask for the World’s Best Old Fashioned, an off-menu option that absolutely lives up to its name. 



Image Courtesy of A10

Tokyo is full of hidden watering holes, but A10 is a favorite for both its sultry interiors and unique cocktails. This dark, sophisticated locale features hundreds of records stacked on a grid of shelves behind the bar, comfortable caramel-colored leather lounge chairs, wood and terrazzo flooring and a fritted glass wall that disguises the seating area from the entrance.  

A10’s inventive drinks are all artfully presented, in a variety of vessels and with unusual garnishes. For example, the Forest Apple is a gin-based cocktail that comes topped with cucumber bubbles, and the popcorn-forward Feel Like A Cinema is served inside a box you might get at the movies. 


New York City 

Photography by Eric Medsker for Tigre

This relatively new destination on New York City’s Lower East Side has quickly become a hotspot, thanks to its golden interiors and soft lighting that bathe its chic crowd in a warm, flattering glow. Its expansive martini menu, which encourages orders by ratio of spirits, is also a hit.  

The intimate space can be found behind a graffitied and wheat-pasted doorway on Rivington Street, through a long, dimly lit corridor and past several display niches and a coat check.

In the main space, which has a sexy ’70s glam vibe, a horseshoe-shaped bar is illuminated from underneath and boasts glass shelves stacked with liquor bottles. Comfy patterned booths line either side of the room. Naturally, there’s a mirrored ceiling, and even the satin staff uniforms are on-brand.  

It would be remiss not to order a martini here, whichever way you prefer it served, but the Cigarette Martini—mixed with Truman vodka and a juniper spirit from Copenhagen’s Empirical—is a good place to start if you’re unsure. 

You May Also Like: An NYC Cocktail for Every Borough 

Florería Atlantico

Buenos Aires 

Floreria Atlantico
Image Courtesy of Floreria Atlantico

A charming flower and wine shop provides the front for this bar in the Argentinian capital’s Retiro neighborhood, where a refrigerator door opens to reveal the entrance to a subterranean chamber.  

Ever-popular with locals (always a good sign), the cave-like venue was devised by top mixologist Renato Giovannoni and restaurateur Julián Diaz, who decided to hide the bar due to noise complaints from neighbors about a previous nightspot at the location.  

The cavernous space features a gently curved bar along one side and a series of two- and four-top tables along the other, with exposed concrete beams and hand-painted wall murals adding to the underground vibe.  

When it comes to drinks, Giovannoni’s menu pays tribute to the Indigenous tribes and peoples of Argentina as well as the immigrants who've made the country their home. The vodka-based Bissap, based on Senegalese flavors, includes caramelized tomatoes and the Korean-inspired Mayak combines soju with ginger and licorice. 



Image Courtesy of Farmily group

Founded in 2013, this underground bar is well-known but remains elusive. Befriending its owners, who also run the Mag Cafe in Milan’s Navigli neighborhood, offers the best chance of access.  

Requiring a passcode to gain entry at an undisclosed address, the dimly lit space is a true reflection of Prohibition-era speakeasies, with vintage 1930s decor to match the mood. Low ceilings, exposed brickwork, patterned wallpaper and old typewriters all help to transport guests back in time.  

An elaborate drink list is renewed cyclically, so it’s hard to pick favorites. But you can’t go wrong with a Milanese classic: The Negroni

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