The 15 Best NYC Speakeasies To Take Your Night To The Next Level

In the 1920s, Prohibition in America drove the country's bars and lounges underground, sparking the rise of speakeasies, or establishments where alcoholic beverages were sold illegally. Once the 21st Amendment was passed that ended prohibition in 1933, the speakeasy was no longer a necessity, and bars came back into plain view (via History Channel).

Almost a century later, speakeasies are coming into fashion once again. Though the sale and consumption of alcohol is perfectly legal for those above the age of 21, the idea of a hidden bar tucked away from view can sound quite alluring. Multiple speakeasy-style bars and lounges have emerged in New York City as of late — though like their predecessors, many are not easy to spot. If you find yourself in the Big Apple, look carefully for the following bars and lounges where you can slink away from the hustle and bustle of the city and sip on a hand-crafted cocktail. These are among the best of the best, and we figured you may want to include a few of these in your travels.

1. Saint Tuesday

Saint Tuesday can be found at 24 Cortland Alley, tucked away two floors underneath the Walker Hotel Tribeca (via Untapped New York). According to one Yelp reviewer, it can be a challenge to find this hideaway, as there is no visible signage whatsoever at street level. But the difficulty of figuring out how to enter, per Time Out, only lends itself to the speakeasy vibes it's trying to recreate. Once you succeed in locating Saint Tuesday, you will find yourself in a cozy cellar that makes you feel as though you just stepped back in time. There is nightly live music and a menu that features signature drinks like the Business, Corpse Reviver #1, and the Suitcase. You can also order the bartender's choice if you are feeling bold.

Yelp reviewers across the board seem to sing the praises of the unique environment surrounding guests when they visit Saint Tuesday. One reviewer heralded the bar as a "Great low key spot for live music and cocktails!" Another reviewer praised the intimate setup and said that they liked the drinks so much, "the bartender there is probably a wizard." Though some pointed out that the service can be slow, that seems to be made up for in spades by the atmosphere, the drinks, and the friendliness of the staff.

2. Keys & Heels

At first glance, Keys & Heels looks like your run-of-the-mill locksmith and shoe repair shop on the Upper East Side. But, as its website will tell you, "it's what's inside that counts." The storefront facade acts as the perfect cover for this speakeasy-style bar, which comes with an attractive interior and a menu that features light bites as well as all of the usual suspects you would expect to find in a Manhattan lounge. It really commits to the storefront bit, however, and a quick glance through its Instagram would leave you with no clue about its true identity.

Gimmicks aside, Keys & Heels appears to deliver on what truly matters. Yelp reviewers have plenty of positive things to say, with one reviewer noting that it hit big marks on both atmosphere and the creativity behind its drink menu. Another reviewer suggested that this is a perfect spot to bring out-of-town guests. Across the board, however, we spotted multiple reviews that strongly suggested advance reservations, since seating is limited. Keys & Heels also hosts a series of live music and magic shows, with the artist's identity kept a secret ahead of time (via Time Out).

3. Dear Irving

The unassuming staircase leading up to the entrance of Dear Irving, a cocktail parlor located in Gramercy, might lead you to believe that you are about to head into something more akin to a hole-in-the-wall establishment. Once inside, however, you are faced with the challenge of selecting which of its four richly decorated rooms inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald, JFK, Marie Antoinette, and the Victorian era you want to drink in (via Hidden Libations). The speakeasy-lite contrast between its exterior and interior is not the only unique feature of Dear Irving. According to New York Magazine, guests are given personal buzzers at each table to signal when they are ready to order a drink — there's no need to wait for your server to visit, and it makes for a more intimate, romantic experience.

The ambiance is only matched by the drinks served at Dear Irving, with martinis that one Yelp reviewer noted as being "made quite well, near perfection in fact." Other reviewers pointed out that Dear Irving makes for a great date night spot, and many reported having a fabulous time with their group of friends as well. No matter the occasion, multiple reviewers on Yelp reported that after visiting the first time, they would return more regularly.

4. Little Branch

A small golden plaque on the door is the only sign to indicate you have arrived at Little Branch, located in the West Village (there are photos on Tripadvisor to use as a reference). In fact, the entrance is so hidden in plain sight, one reviewer on Tripadvisor points out that most will not even recognize that there is a doorman who will approach you and ask if you would like to come inside for a drink. With no faux business to use as a front, guests are led straight into a dimly-lit basement filled with suspender-wearing servers and a jazz-infused ambiance (via Thrillist).

If you know your cocktails, then Little Branch should be right up your alley. According to New York Magazine, the wide variety of drink options in combination with expert bartenders should make for a memorable experience (plus, they claim it serves an incredible mojito). Reviewers are in agreement, with one guest sharing on Tripadvisor that it offers the "perfect way to enjoy drinks!" Another Tripadvisor user shared the late founder Sasha Petraske's rules for visiting Little Branch (mainly to engage in civil behavior), which further embodies the speakeasy-style vibe.

5. Attaboy

According to its website, Attaboy is "the everyman's cocktail bar hidden in plain sight on an obscure bit of Eldridge Street." When you skim through some of the reviews, however, you will quickly learn that the Lower East Side hotspot is being rather humble in its description. As one Yelp reviewer puts it, Attaboy (which took the place of the former New York City legendary bar Milk & Honey) is "so important to the history and the world of mixology."

Another Yelp reviewer referred to Attaboy as a "peak New York bar" and "a hallmark to all things NYC." Multiple reviews cited that the bar made it on the Top 50 Best Bars in North America, earning the top prizes as The Best Bar in North America 2022 as well as The Best Bar in Northeast U.S.A 2022. What makes Attaboy such a standout? For one, there is no menu, according to World's 50 Best Bars. Instead, the servers strike up a conversation with each guest, and from there a custom cocktail is crafted. New York Magazine suggests having an idea of what you are in the mood for when visiting and letting the expert mixologists take care of the rest.

6. Peachy's

Located in Chinatown underneath the restaurant Chinese Tuxedo, Peachy's has two simple rules posted as a glowing neon sign upon entry: no fighting, and no photography. Hidden Libations notes that Peachy's is among the best speakeasy-style bars you will find in Chinatown, and word has gotten around. While its popularity might make you think Peachy's is less of a speakeasy and more of a basement-level bar, Condé Nast Traveler notes in their review that its atmosphere might lead you to believe you are "doing something illicit." Sure sounds tantalizing, if you ask us.

What exactly is the vibe at Peachy's? One Yelp reviewer described it as "equal parts 1920s Shanghai nightlife and 2020s NYC speakeasy," while another noted that it comes with "all the fun of a club without the pretentiousness." A third simply stated "aesthetic on fleek." If you need any convincing that the vibes are top-notch, some of the drinks come served in cat-shaped mugs (via Hidden Libations). The high bar set by its atmosphere is met with higher-than-average cocktail prices, with drinks costing around $18. While pricey, many claim that it is well worth the sticker shock.

7. Karasu

Venturing outside of Manhattan might seem like a daunting task if you are visiting from out of town, but expanding your boundaries opens the door to an array of exceptional dining and drink options. If you find yourself in the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, keep your eyes peeled for a restaurant called Walter's. Head inside, walk through the restaurant, and you will find a hidden bar in a back room called Karasu.

While The Infatuation argues that New York City has more than enough speakeasies, it says Karasu stands out in an otherwise oversaturated market for its unique drinks and pleasant atmosphere. Karasu fully embraces its Japanese izakaya identity, serving both top-notch drinks and snacks to go along with them. Yelp reviewers also have plenty of good things to say, with one reviewer rating the bar's ingenious environment as a 10 out of 10. In review after review, we noticed that many visitors included positive notes on the food, which makes Karasu a distinct speakeasy option in comparison to the other bars mentioned on this list.

8. Nothing Really Matters

The New York minute mindset only adds to the camouflage of Nothing Really Matters, which might see more passers-by than the average bar. That is because this speakeasy is located in the heavy traffic area of Midtown Manhattan, specifically the entrance to the subway station at 50th Street and Broadway. Head mixologist Cyllan Hicks spoke to Time Out and said that Nothing Really Matters is more like a "cool cocktail bar that happens to be in the subway station" and less like a speakeasy you would find in Prohibition-era New York City. No matter what you want to call it, if you have taken the downtown-bound 1 train, there is a chance you walked right past the entrance without ever realizing it.

In between the entrance to the station and the turnstiles is where you will find Nothing Really Matters (via Time Out), with New York City-themed cocktails like the Fearless Girl (via Secret NYC). Yelp reviewers rave about the speakeasy's tasty cocktails as well as its snack menu, which includes caviar. With drinks rotating out each season, you will always have a reason to come back.

9. The Garret West

There is a collection of bars in Lower Manhattan known as The Garret Bars, and one of its West Village spots a bit trickier to find than others (via The Garret Group). In fact, The Garret West keeps it frustratingly simple with its instructions on its website: "Come find us." Yelp reviewers provide a few more hints; as it turns out, it's located on top of a Five Guys. And according to The Infatuation, you actually have to enter the Five Guys to find the staircase that leads you to the bar.

Once upstairs, you will find a select menu of cocktails, beer, and wine — but no food (why compete with Five Guys, anyway?). The drinks, however, are more than enough to keep fans coming back. One reviewer on Yelp notes that the "drinks are top notch," and another reviewer said that it was their "go-to spot" in the West Village. You can also have the best of both worlds if you want to grab a burger at Five Guys before heading upstairs for drinks. Den Hospitality partner Grant Wheeler shared his burger-pairing suggestions with Insider, recommending The First Lady to go with a cheeseburger and The Norse Whisperer to sip on alongside some french fries.

10. La Noxe

When La Noxe opened in 2021, it had a 1,500-person waitlist (via New York Post). In the fall of 2022, that waitlist is still a regular part of how tricky it is to get inside (via Spotted By Locals). The other tricky part: It is hidden within one of New York City's subway stations. Well, sort of. The entrance is actually on the street, but you exit out into the station (a bit disorienting). If you finally manage to make it into La Noxe, you may be shocked at the high-end vibes you'll find nestled within the Chelsea station at the corner of 7th Avenue and West 28th Street. With seating for only 15 patrons at a time, you'll quickly learn why there is such a long wait.

La Noxe is well worth that wait, according to a number of reviews left on Yelp. One reviewer raved about the tapas menu, including standouts like grilled octopus. Other reviewers liked the cozy atmosphere you can only find in a bar that seats a little over one dozen people. Its drink menu features a wide variety of beverages, including a cocktail menu that includes a bourbon-based drink called Tuscan Leather and a vodka-based drink called Forbidden Love.

11. Bathtub Gin

Bathtub Gin is a celebration of all things speakeasies, from its 1920s-era decor to its name, inspired by the alcohol people would make at home in their own bathtubs during the prohibition. If you want to feel like you have truly been transported back in time, you just may find that here. Like many other speakeasy-style bars included in this list, Bathtub Gin is hidden within a different business — in this situation, that business is Stone Street Coffee on 9th Avenue in Chelsea. Ten years after it first opened its doors, a sister location (also hidden from view) opened in Los Angeles.

But back to Manhattan, where Yelp reviewers cannot get enough of the speakeasy atmosphere. One reviewer rated the vibes at a six out of five, and another review mentions that the drinks, though pricey, are worth the cost. As far as the drinks themselves go, high praise was given on Yelp to Bathtub Gin's Sangria Cocktail, Espresso Martini, and the Gin Gin Cup. Bathtub Gin was also featured on World's Best Bars, where it scored big points for its attention to detail its cocktail menu, with gin prominent throughout.

12. Apotheke & Apotheke NoMad

The original Apotheke in Chinatown, according to its website, is heralded by Architectural Digest as one of the best speakeasy bars in the country. First opening in 2008, it later inspired a second New York City location that opened in the summer of 2022 called Apotheke NoMad (via Thrillist). The fledgling sister location also follows the speakeasy tradition, with one major distinction: The NoMad location serves food (via Time Out).

Whether you choose to locate the O.G. Apotheke or the new NoMad location, be sure to dress up. You do not have to be dressed to the nines, but its website states that "sophisticated attire is encouraged," and one Yelp reviewer warned that their group was originally turned away thanks to a too-casual pair of sneakers. Once you make it inside, you will notice apothecary vibes at the original location, with the NoMad location offering both a cellar atmosphere as well as a penthouse lounge (via Thrillist). As great as the drinks are, one of the main attractions of the original location is the design, with a custom-built marble bar and a 200-year-old door (via New York Magazine). Both bars were designed by the late ​​Christopher Tierney (via Time Out).

13. Please Don't Tell

If you happen to find yourself at Crif Dogs in the East Village, then you are halfway to Please Don't Tell (via World's Best Bars). If it was not weird enough that a speakeasy would be located within a hot dog shop, then just brace yourself for when you actually enter the bar. We'll give you a hint: You will want to investigate the telephone booth. Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown of Mixellany Ltd. claim that Please Don't Tell has the best entrance of any bar they have been to, and Sean Muldoon of The Dead Rabbi notes that it is the one bar he keeps coming back to time and time again.

Trusted Travel Girl notes that Please Don't Tell is one of the hardest bars to get a seat at, and that is echoed across multiple reviews. One Tripadvisor reviewer mentioned that your best odds of getting a seat are to arrive early or make sure you have a reservation. According to Trusted Travel Girl, seating is limited, which may be a big factor in why the wait can get rather long if you don't come prepared with a reservation.

14. PS at Pine & Polk

At Pine & Polk, a shop that opened in Hudson Square in May of 2022, you will find an assortment of artisanal food items, from cheese to sauces to granolas (via The New York Times). That might be reason enough to stop by for a visit, but if you need more convincing, how does a hidden speakeasy bar sound? Tucked away in the back corner of the shop, PS (which stands for Pacific Standard) is inspired by the West Coast, where co-owners Lindsay Weiss and Alyssa Golub are from.

The cocktails keep its unique California vibe going, with a menu that includes A Splendid Day (a boozy matcha latte-esque drink) and Minus Three, which comes with a mini street corn-style garnish (via Secret NYC). These plus many more drinks are widely praised on Yelp, with several reviewers also emphasizing how unique and clever the entrance to this speakeasy is. One reviewer even added that they "could've drank the whole menu."

15. The Lab at Patent Pending

A speakeasy within a speakeasy? Say it ain't so! Patent Pending can be found via Patent Coffee, a cafe-by-day located on West 27th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (via Time Out). But once the sun goes down and the coffee shop concludes its day, you will be directed to enter secret bar number one: Patent Pending. Named for its famed resident of yesteryear Nikola Tesla, it features a drink menu with on-brand names like Radio Waves and Currents & Coils.

The secrets don't end there, however. Just around the corner from the main bar is another tucked-away spot called The Lab. Its website refers to The Lab as a "hidden cavern" and it is only used when the main bar is at or near capacity, or for private events. So The Lab is not necessarily its own bar separate from Patent Pending, but it does add an even deeper level of exclusivity if you can grab a seat there.