Prohibition is long gone, yet the American speakeasy is alive and well. It’s both a relic of our history and a glimpse into our future. See what we mean below…
Please Don’t Tell, New York City
The Place: Head over to East Village staple Crif Dogs for some grub (may we recommend the Chihuahua, a bacon-wrapped wiener topped with avocado and sour cream?), then stroll into the unassuming old-fashioned phone booth in the corner and use the rotary dial to connect with a host. On the other side of the booth, you’ll find a secret room perfect for an intimate gathering. Just make sure you’ve made day-of reservations as early as possible—they go quickly.
The Drink: PDT is known for its new take on the Old Fashioned, crafted with bacon-infused bourbon. Healthy and delicious!
The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co., Philadelphia
The Place: Back in the day, Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company actually served as a front for the largest bootlegging ring in America. Today, they’re serving quality Prohibition-era cocktails. Just find the unmarked entrance, greet the bouncer, follow him down to the bar and relax as your bartender goes over your drink options.
The Drink: Franklin’s drinks are strong! Try the Palumbo, made with bourbon, vermouth, Campari, Angostura bitters, apricot preserves and kosher salt.
The Patterson House, Nashville, Tennessee
The Place: The cocktail is king at The Patterson House. Drinks are made from a long list of ingredients, served in classic stemware and come with ice cubes forged from twice-filtered water into perfect squares or spheres, depending on the type of drink. Though it’s small, it never gets too packed; patrons aren’t allowed to crowd around the bar or tables.
The Drink: Ask for the Jennings, Patterson’s take on Jack and Coke. And try the tater tots with dill Crème Fraiche dip to harken back to your days as a grade-school tot fiend—with a twist.
Founder’s Room at the Paramount, Huntington, New York
The Place: This members-only Long Island speakeasy is part of the mid-size live performance venue The Paramount, which hosts acts from all over the world. The Founder’s Room is styled like a 1920s speakeasy, featuring actual Prohibition-era artifacts and private rooms with secret entrances—one is located behind a bookcase—that can be reserved by members for free. The best part? Artists and celebrities who play the Paramount often return to mingle at the after party, or even perform right in the bar.
The Drink: When on Long Island, drink a Long Island.
Manifesto, Kansas City, Missouri
The Place: Head into Manifesto though a back-alley doorway and you’ll be escorted down to a table lit by a single candle. Your eyes will eventually adjust to the darkness and you’ll be able to peruse the drink menu, which is categorized by liquor type and service style. Manifesto has just 48 seats, so make sure to call or text message for reservations. They’ve also got rules: silence your cell phones, be patient, no hollering. It’s a classy joint, after all.
The Drink: The Smokin’ Choke is a popular cocktail made with applewood smoked four roses bourbon, cynar (an Italian bitter liqueur), maple syrup and Peychaud’s bitters.
Williams & Graham, Denver
The Place: It’s disguised as a cozy bookstore housing a selection of booze-themed publications and Hemingway works. Those who desire to enter disclose their name to an employee who writes it on a card, files it away and leads them through a bookcase entrance to the bar.
The Drink: Williams & Graham’s featured drink is the Manhattan, made with Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth and Angostura bitters.
Double A, Chicago
The Place: A mixologist’s table allowing guests to see their drink orders come to life, a beverage program with swappable cocktail ingredients and a variety of delicious house-made mixers positioning Double A as a luxe, interactive libation experience not to be missed.
The Drink: Try the Little Market featuring tequila, fresh pineapple, Guajillo chile, cilantro and piquin peppers.