By Jordana Weiss
If you thrive on drama, secrecy, and can really get behind a cocktail in an old-fashioned champagne coupe, check out some of these amazing hidden bars and speakeasies. Many of them pay tribute to America’s Prohibition-era past, while others just exist in secret to keep the menu small and the clientele exclusive. They may be small, but they offer some of the best cocktails in America.
Milk Room- Chicago
Located inside the Chicago Athletic Association, Milk Room is a newer bar that offers a ton of antique ambiance. It can be found behind a small doorway between two of the complex’s larger bars, and only has eight seats. Entry costs $50, but that’s applied to your bill at the end of the night. Whiskey-inspired drinks range in price from $18 to $50.
Hell or High Water- Louisville
Located inside a curio shop on Louisville’s Whiskey Row, Hell or High Water serves up tons of elegant cocktails in a sexy lounge loaded with plush red furniture. Prices are reasonable, and reservations are available in advance.
PDT- New York City
The ultimate NYC speakeasy experience is PDT, which stands for Please Don’t Tell. It’s located behind a phone booth inside a hotdog shop, and you can munch burgers and hotdogs while sipping creative cocktails. The bartenders have created over 200 original cocktails since they’ve opened.
High & Tight- Dallas
High & Tight is a regular Dallas barbershop from the front, with a brick-walled speakeasy tucked in behind. You can sip their masterful versions of standard cocktails, or branch out with creative originals that feature ingredients like cauliflower cream and peanut foam.
Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge – New Orleans
One of the odder bars in New Orleans, Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge offers a dive bar atmosphere with surprisingly decent drinks. It’s not really hidden, but the broken-down exterior makes it looks like your grandpa’s backyard shed.
Dodici at Bari Ristorante- Memphis
Dodici is a cocktail lounge located in a former artist’s studio above Memphis eatery Bari Ristoranti. Dodici means “twelve” in Italian- the number of patrons this tiny bar can seat at once. All the ingredients are handmade, and the artfully mixed cocktails are delicious.
The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box- Portland, ME
The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box is a hidden gem in Portland, Maine. It’s intentionally hard to find to make sure that the experience of drinking there remains exclusive. The small cocktail menu changes every week, and the atmosphere is perfect- laid back yet still elegant.
Cellar Mixology- San Antonio
Each bartender’s mixology skills take center stage at Cellar Mixology, located in the basement of Toro Kitchen + Bar in San Antonio. Drinks feature foams, essences, and even a few cocktails that are ‘spherified’ into an orb of sodium alginate. It’s a great place to drink and be entertained.
If you’re looking for an adventure, any of these gorgeous speakeasies or hidden bars offers its own unique atmosphere and creative libations- if you can manage to find the right door.