Keep this a secret but boy are there some epic speakeasies dotted across the globe. Back in the 1920’s, alcohol was made illegal (can you imagine that!) and in a bid to keep on sipping, the speakeasy was born. Now, their popularity is obvious. Striking bars are hidden by illusive barbershop and bookshelf facades, and ever-changing passwords are needed for access. It’s a hush, hush world but it’s one we’re about to shine a bright light on! Here are our favourite speakeasies across the globe…
There’s a haunt in Hollywood that goes by the name of Adults Only and, if you can find it, we highly suggest a visit whilst across the pond! This promiscuous speakeasy is a self-proclaimed ‘up-scale dive bar’ and flaunts neon and naughtiness like it’s going out of fashion. The interior boasts old school Hollywood glamour vibes, with splashes of of cinematic influence seen via the VHS tapes lining the walls. For a dose of the 1990s and a cosy armchair, head to Adults Only!
Despite this bar being called PDT (Please Don’t Tell), it seems the word has got out because we’re here across the pond writing about the New York den! PDT is a fantastic little spot that can be slipped into after walking through a telephone box… very Doctor Who of them! Cocktails are epic, as is mostly the case at speakeasies, and if you get hungry you can check out the hot dog joint.
This opulent dream is located in Amsterdam and hides behind a little burger bar. When you’re done exploring Amsterdam’s raunchy, cafe-laden scene, you can pop to The Butcher for some of the best drinks, and one of the best atmospheres, the city has to offer. But, as with most speakeasies, there’s a catch… The Butcher can only be accessed by buzzing a rather inconspicuously placed button and then you’re asked for the password which, might we add, changes every single day… how do you access Amsterdam’s best kept secret then? Well you’re going to have to crack that one yourself!
Already a legendary drinking hole, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town has a whole mythology of its own. Ask to ‘see the mayor’ in The Breakfast Club, and you’ll be led through a retro ’50s style Smeg fridge and into a whole new world of speakeasy. Have a dance, enjoy the drinks, and sneak out through the hidden exit through the toilets.
Argentina’s Floreria Atlántico subverts the speakeasy norm, proving it’s not always a barbershop that speakeasies hide behind. The bar has repeatedly sat at a top spot in the top 50 bars in the world list and pushes out some of the most incredible cocktails, in a space adorned with florals galore! The Negroni Balestrini is a total must-try, mixing Argentinan gin Príncipe de los Apóstoles, made by the patron Renato Giovannoni, eucalyptus and scent of pine nut – wow! The remaining cocktails are inspired by Buenos Aires’ immigrant history and make for quite the intriguing mix!
Panda & Sons is a lucrative underground haven of epic cocktails presented with a whole lotta smoke, and edgy interiors that submerge you straight into the 1920s Prohibition days. The Edinburgh speakeasy has caught the attention of the masses with its quirkiness, and can be found disguised as a barbershop on Queen’s Street… but the bouncer kinda gives it away. Make sure you try the birdcage cocktail at the bar, which can be accessed by sliding through a bookshelf, of course!
We’re off to Hong Kong next, to Foxglove in fact; a speakeasy that 007 could walk into at any moment and not look a bit out of place. This immersive, speakeasy experience sees guests begin by searching for an umbrella in a closet… sounds like our every morning here in rainy England. Next, you head down a Prohibition era corridor (it doesn’t get more speakeasy than that), followed by a game to find a painting in order to unlock the VIP room. If, by this point, you’re thinking “just give me a flippin’ drink” then not to worry, you’ll find cocktails a’plenty at the ultra edgy bar. Feast on Foxglove’s famed oysters and enjoy cocktails that are married with Asian ingredients. Foxglove is a real treat!
Berlin’s Fairytale Bar adds to the city’s eclectic clubbing scene and, as entering a speakeasy is no easy task, you’ll zoom down a rabbit hole and into a world so far from the one we know. Alice in Wonderland vibes will greet you in the topsy-turvy paradise you find yourselves in. First, you have to find the ‘Märchenbrunnen’ (Fountain of Fairytales) in the Prenzlauer Berg district of the city, before buzzing in, cocktail-slurping and living it up fairy style. Perhaps our favourite feature is that cocktails are served from slippers and staff are dressed up as puppets. Kinda like a weird dream, Fairytale in Berlin does just what it says on the tin…
As you can see, it doesn’t get more speakeasy than this! Sydney’s Barbershop bar allows you to grab yourself a short back and sides and a cocktail at the same time, you lucky thing! Instead of throwing shrimps on the barbie, this Australian must-visit rustles up an excellent selection of fine wines, champagnes, cocktails and more. Much like Edinburgh’s Panda & Sons, this speakeasy is designed as a barbershop, with unassuming tourists strolling past unknowingly. Inside, it’s much like a barbershop but with spiffing beverages. So worth a visit.
If all the drama and secrecy isn’t your thing, 69 Coleman Row – a bar so unpretentious it doesn’t even have a name – is the one for you. The focus is on the drinks, with world-class mixologists rustling up a seasonal menu of cocktails. Just be sure to book in advance.
Is the nomad in you looking for somewhere new to explore? Check out The Handbook’s travel section here!