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10 Fascinating Speakeasies in the World

Speakeasies have gone from hidden and illegal drinking watering holes to cool, trendy bars with a mysterious feel. Here are ten speakeasies in the world that you should visit.

What is a speakeasy?

If you hadn’t already guessed, the name “speakeasy” is a reference to the fact that people were asked to be gentle and not be too heavy on details when talking about these hidden bars to keep people from finding out about their existence. 

Speakeasy bars became famous in the US in the 1920s as a way for people to get around the banning of alcohol. Often disguised as coffee shops or other alcohol-free places, these bars welcomed patrons to escape their reality and enjoy a drink or two.

PDT – New York

Please Don’t Tell, better known as PDT, is the epitome of the worst-kept secret. Entered by passing through a phone booth inside Crif Dogs – ​​a New York hot dog stand – this cocktail lounge in East Village is a haven for fans of speakeasies. Pass through the brown, narrow doors and enter a dimly-lit bar with brown brick walls and spacious dark brown leather sofas with deep buttoned detailing. Founded by legendary mixologist Jim Meehan, PDT is a New York spot you can’t miss.

Fairytale Bar – Berlin

Once again, an ingeniously hidden entrance – this time through a fountain – Fairytale bar is just what you’d imagine: a venue in the land of make-believe. If you’re a fan of whimsical fantasy and staff dressed like Alice in Wonderland and other much more sinister things, this bar will thrill you as it quenches your thirst. The rattling speakeasy is located near Volkspark Friedrichshain – Berlin’s oldest public park – and features a sign stating “​​Follow the white rabbit.” Upon arrival, ring a bell and a staff member disguised as a fictional character will come to get you.

A whiskey bar
A whiskey bar

Behind Closed Doors – Manchester

Despite being impeccably named, this Behind Closed Doors sadly has a normal entrance. But that’s the only normal thing about it. It sits at the intersection of prohibition and sex; the walls are covered with posters, pictures, and prints of all things smut. And that’s the mild part of the interior. Neon colours dominate this bar, from the furnishings to the lights, creating a laid-back atmosphere. If alcohol puts you in the mood for you know what, this might be your spot.

28 Hongkong Street – Singapore

28 HongKong Street will never win any contests for nominative determinism, but it’ll make you forget that you’re in Singapore despite the fact you could scarcely be further away, thanks to its easy-going American-style urban chic aura. The entrance is discrete, and it can be tricky to find it; it’s located behind a 1960s shophouse façade. We recommend asking anyone hanging around its address to see if you can garner clues. Good luck!

Floreria Atlantico – Buenos Aires

This Floreria Atlantico might just be a speakeasy as it appears in the dictionary. You enter a seemingly innocuous flower shop, however, when you reach to open the fridge, you find a door leading to a bar decorated as if by a rabid fan of Moby Dick. This bar might be the white whale of South American speakeasies. This legendary disguised bar served a mix of classic drinks and cocktails that pay tribute to Argentina’s indigenous communities. 

HR Giger Museum – Gruyeres, Switzerland

If you’re visiting this part of Switzerland, you’ll most likely visit the HR Giger Museum. But imagine how many millions of people have passed through the halls and left, having no idea how close they’ve been to one of the most unique speakeasies in the world. Hidden inside a castle, the vaulted bar ceiling resembles the inside of a ribcage. I guess, in that respect, it lives up to its name. Let the adventure begin.

Adults Only – LA

Despite its X-rated name, this Los Angeles bar doesn’t sell sex. What it does sell is a bygone era; if you want to travel back in time to the LA of, well, let’s face it, everyone’s dreams, then this is where you want to be. An eclectic curation of VHS cassettes, movie posters, and small TVs showcasing a variety of cult classics is sure to take you down memory lane at Adults Only. Just don’t spend too long waiting for Sinatra or the rest of the Rat Pack to turn up; no amount of alcohol can make that possible. Gatsby, on the other hand? Maybe. 

The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town – London

Like Floreria Atlantico, the entrance to The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town is through a fridge, but this London speakeasy is hugely sign-posted. So whilst it may never win ‘most secret bar’, it’s up there in every other category the discerning drinker looks for. The decor is unusual, the ornaments even stranger, and the menu might be the most peculiar bit of all. But ask a staff member for a recommendation, and you’ll be treated to something tasty beyond your wildest dreams.

Palmer & Co – Sydney

Another bar that harks back to the era of prohibition, this speakeasy down under the streets of Sydney will make you forget where you are. Palmer & Co, an underground bar, is all about the old days, from 1920s-inspired photo booths to burlesque performers. The staff inhabit the role of hush-hush mobsters perfectly. Leave your weapons at the door, and don’t tell a soul. We don’t want to get raided now, do we?

Door 74

A clandestine speakeasy bar tucked away in the streets of Amsterdam, Door 74 is a pioneer. One of the first cocktail bars in the city, stumbling on this spot isn’t an easy task. You’ll quite literally only find a normal door with no indication that the venue is the epitome of a classy cocktail venue. It has a prohibition-era theme that takes you on a journey the moment you pass the discreet entrance before welcoming you into a dimly lit spot perfect for those looking to escape noisy bars. 

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