Everyone needs their secrets. And no secret is more fun than a rad space only you are privy to (well, at least you feel that way).
These elusive and exclusive speakeasies nod at the prohibition era of the past and the seeming prohibition of privacy in our present day.
Here’s our list of the most intriguing—least secretive to most.
6. Please Don’t Tell, New York
Well, too late, someone told.
Inside an East Village hot dog shop (behind the phone booth, of course), the illuminated bar top of Please Don’t Tell acts as a beacon, leading customers to a rich, personal drinking experience. With unique drink specialities like the bacon-infused Benton’s Old Fashioned, we hear the bartenders are as talented as they are easy to entreat.
Camouflaged from the Wicker Park foot traffic by an ever-changing exhibition of graffiti, The Violet Hour reveals a modern take on the old-fashioned speakeasy. After opening the door and pushing past the giant velvet curtains, customers are welcomed into a beautiful secret. Everything from the interior decoration to the drink recipes is fresh and progressive. The Juliet & Romeo (a mix of Beefeater, mint, cucumber, rose water) is among their famed cocktails.
Apparently you’ve lucked out if you get into Room 13 and you aren’t a guest of or a paying member of the Old Chicago Inn (or a guest of either). If you happen to get your hands on the daily password, you’ll be granted entrance to the red-lit room filled with period decor and classic 20s cocktails.
3. Wilson & Wilson Private Detective Agency, San Francisco
What’s more exciting than a speakeasy within a speakeasy? Very little we imagine. It’s like another magic closest inside Narnia. This time, you’re required to have both a password to the Agency and the Bourbon & Branch in which it rests—cool.
2. The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co., Philly
While its entry isn’t any more exclusive than a popular restaurant, the Franklin has a history rich with bootleggin’ and money launderin’. Max “Boo Boo” Hoff, originator of the operation, was said to be at the front of the liquor ring, greasing police and the like, all while fronting as an investment firm in the late 1920’s.
It’s said the drinks are killer. And with an entire section of the drink menu entitled “I Asked Her For Water, She Brought Me Gasoline,” we’re intrigued.
1. Night Heron Speakeasy, New York
They expected this illegal activity to last six weeks. And while it did, it was purely awesome.
N.D. Austin of Wanderlust Projects, a transgressive placemaking collective, proves that rules are suggestions and old can become new again.
More importantly, Wanderlust understands that any space can be transformed into something wondrous—even an abandoned water tower.
The second coolest part of this ticking-time-bomb venture were the invites. Pocket watches secretly passed person to person served as a token of direction and entry into this intimate watering hole.
In its short life, it was able to give only 700 people the experience of a lifetime. Relive what they saw, below.
The Night Heron: NYC Water Tower Speakeasy from Brooklyn Laboratories on Vimeo.
Fingers crossed that we are able, one day, to be the first to write about a secret even fewer know…or create our own.
Erin for KBD