When you're headed to a popular, speakeasy-style bar for a very-on-trend, craft-made tipple, the last thing you want to do is look like you're not in-the-know by fumbling the "secret" entrance.
Imagine not being able to find that little piece of paper with the password you got in the confirmation email for your Wilson & Wilson reservation. Somehow, cursing under your breath as you ransack your purse in front of the awaiting hostess doesn't quite jive with the cool, secluded vibe of the San Francisco bar-within-a-bar. And then presumably after that mini-shame you'll be wanting a drink, any drink (and fast), and you might risk being too frazzled to fully appreciate the impeccable cocktails that are the point of your visit.
Or maybe you're trying to go to modern speakeasy stalwart, PDT, in New York City's East Village. Even though the bar has been around for a while, and its phone booth entrance inside Crif Dogs has been widely publicized, it's still your first time and you're feeling a little unsure. So you enter the hot dog joint, cram yourself into the tiny booth, and hesitantly try to make contact with the other side. But for whatever reason nothing's happening, and — groan — now there's another group behind you waiting to get in. Nonchalantly as possible, you squirm out, grab a hot dog and a seat across from the phone booth, and study how everyone else does it. Fake it 'til you make it.
Now, this is not meant to speak unfavorably of speakeasy-style bars or places with not-so-obvious entrances. "Hidden" entrances are often a big draw for visiting a particular spot, making getting in part of the adventure of the experience. It's just that, you know, you might want to come prepared.
To that end, we've rounded-up some of our favorite "hidden" bars across the country, focusing on those with the most interesting and clever entrances, and explained how exactly you're supposed to find them.