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A wall with graffiti on side and brick on the other with a wooden phone booth in the middle.
Enter through a phone booth to get to Please Don’t Tell.
Eric Medsker/Please Don’t Tell

Where to Find NYC’s Top Speakeasy-Style Bars

Where to find booze disguised by unmarked doors, hot dogs, and a laundromat

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Enter through a phone booth to get to Please Don’t Tell.
| Eric Medsker/Please Don’t Tell

The last time speakeasy-style dens became coveted in New York City was around 2007, when PDT, aka Please Don’t Tell, launched in the East Village and kicked off a spate of new bars with increasingly elaborate hidden entrances. Today, there’s no sign this genre of bars emphasizing craft cocktails — and the Edison lightbulbs, live music, and discreet entrances — is going away. Perhaps the throwback to the Prohibition-era establishments never went out of vogue, but luckily, they’re less ostentatious, more chill, and most importantly, serving outstanding cocktails. Here’s where to hide while nursing a drink in the city.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Keys & Heels

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1488 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10075
(917) 557-0217
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Enter through a storefront that’s been modeled after an old locksmith and shoe repair shop to find this cocktail lounge. Inside, owner Massimo Lusardi (who owns nearby wine bar Uva) created a space that feels like a cozy living room with little lamps set on bistro tables. Customers can order creative riffs on classics like the Manhattan High Tea, which incorporates Early Grey-flavored syrup, while nibbling on Italian bar snacks like mini paninis and olives.

2. Patent Pending

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49 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 689-4002
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This radio-themed speakeasy in the Radio Wave Building’s cellar executes on its concept with a menu sorting drinks into four categories: energy, frequency, vibration, and descent. Each drink is illustrated and described in painstaking detail, like the “Light Me Up,” with bourbon, Jamaican rum, mango black tea, amaro, yellow chartreuse, Sichuan peppercorn, lime, and pineapple. It ends up being a complex drink with layered flavors. During the day, the space up front is a coffee shop with speciality grab-and-go coffee, nitro cold brew, pastries, cookies, and chia parfaits.

A dimly lit bar with stools lining one side.
The bar at Patent Pending.
Simmer/Patent Pending

3. Dear Irving

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55 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003

The team behind Raines Law Room, which set a new standard for speakeasy elegance, opened this similarly sexy bar in Gramercy in 2014. While the apartment-like entrance is anything but striking, the decor — including crystal curtains and a room inspired by Marie Antoinette — makes a dramatic statement. Drinks run the gamut from tiki to a wide selection of whiskeys.

A room with a velvet couch surrounded by beaded curtains.
One of the rooms at Dear Irving.
Dear Irving

4. Little Branch

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22 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-4360

A nondescript door in the West Village leads to a stairway down to the basement-level Little Branch, the late and lauded bartender Sasha Petraske’s ode to refined cocktail culture. Bartenders in obligatory vests can make drinks from the twee menu or work out something on the spot. While the wait can be long on the weekends, the occasional live music paired with first-rate cocktails are worth the wait.

5. Sunshine Laundromat

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860 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 475-2055
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During Prohibition, speakeasies weren’t slinging fancy Manhattans but rather whatever hooch the staff could obtain under the alcohol ban. Sunshine Laundromat harks back to those simpler days, slinging bottles of Miller High Life behind a faux-washer door. The real draw, however, are the numerous pinball machines played by arcade fans.

6. Please Don't Tell

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113 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009
(212) 614-0386
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Blame Please Don’t Tell bartender Jim Meehan — who is no longer affiliated with PDT, as its known — for the mid-aughts fascination with speakeasies. But more mercifully, the bar behind a phone booth in Crif Dogs signaled a sea change in New York cocktail culture. Its meticulous approach to both classic and hyper-specific house cocktails remains among the most sophisticated around. Sample a concoction laced with port along with the fancy hot dogs.

An empty bar lined stools on one side and surrounded by a brick wall.
The bar at PDT.
Eric Medsker/Please Don’t Tell

7. PS at Pine & Polk

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300 Spring St
New York, NY 10013
(646) 599-6382
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The newly opened provisions shop Pine & Polk is a front of sorts for PS, a speakeasy hidden behind a shelf of pricey chocolates. Inside, the vibe is more dinner party than a sleek cocktail den. Patrons can order variations on popular cocktails, such as a Negroni served in a tea cup, to pair with charcuterie boards. If a drink or snack stands out, there’s a good chance some of the ingredients can be bought in the shop.

A bar with a marble top, high chairs, and a bar in the background.
PS is located behind a shelf at Pine & Polk.
Ashley Sears/Pine & Polk

8. The Hidden Pearl

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621 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-3291
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While this tropical Japanese-themed speakeasy behind Wanpaku is small, the brightly lit, airy space doesn’t usually feel overwhelmingly crowded. Owner Leif Huckman, who is also behind Donna in South Williamsburg (RIP), has called the bar a “Japanese clam shack,” and as such, small plates like spicy tuna served atop crispy rice or fried baby octopus round out the menu. The drinks menu has an entire section devoted to highballs, all of which are worth a try.

Corner seating with tables and banquettes by a bar with wooden stools at a bar.
The bar and banquette at the Hidden Pearl.
The Hidden Pearl

9. Fig. 19

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131 Chrystie St
New York, NY 10002

Fig. 19’s secret pathway is more clever than most. Above the dance-centric hotspot Home Sweet Home, an art gallery has a door in the very back that leads to the hip watering hole. Chandeliers and accessible cocktails cater to a Lower East Side crowd, while the jazz soundtrack offers an escape from the rowdier scene below.

10. Attaboy

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134 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002

The tiny Attaboy, with only bar seats and three booths, does justice to the old Milk & Honey space. Ring the bell on the unmarked door to get in, though a line on most nights will give away the gimmick. Reservations and menus were once shunned, but a bartender will always happily chat about the ideal beverage.

A bar filled with patrons and a bartender behind the wooden bar.
The bar at Attaboy.
Attaboy

11. Saint Tuesday

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24 Cortlandt Alley
New York, NY 10013

In true speakeasy fashion, Saint Tuesday is hidden in a cellar at the bottom of the Walker Hotel Tribeca with an entrance just off Cortland Alley. The intimate space is dimly lit with a few small wood tables and comes to life when live music fills the cave-like room. For cocktails, which an alum of Little Branch and Fresh Kills oversees, expect classics like Manhattans and martinis or go for a bartender’s choice.

12. Peachy's

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5 Doyers St
New York, NY 10013
(646) 895-9301
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The bi-level Chinese Tuxedo is also home to subterranean Peachy’s, which announces its cheeky humor with a neon sign saying, “no photos, no fighting.” A dragon made of light is the centerpiece of the artful space. The cocktails lean heavily on tequila, mezcal, and rum.

13. Mezcaleria La Milagrosa

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149 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-1499
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La Milagrosa, a speakeasy and mezcaleria in one, lies behind an apparent freezer door in a Williamsburg deli. The narrow, woody space specializes in agave-based spirits used in drinks like a just-smoky-enough mezcal margarita. The hip-yet-friendly crowd is usually lost in conversation or bopping along to an eclectic music mix provided by rotating DJs.

14. Sunken Harbor Club

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372 Fulton St 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

The revival of Gage & Tollner, a historic chophouse in downtown Brooklyn, garnered plenty of attention. But when the restaurant’s upstairs bar Sunken Harbor Club opened in late 2021, anyone who enjoys geeking out about cocktails was equally excited for St. John Frizell’s bar opening. After all, Frizell (who’s also a partner at Gage & Tollner) ran a successful tiki-themed night at his Red Hook spot Fort Defiance for years. The nautical touches in the space translates to drinks like punch bowls adorned with flowers and other tropical libations.

15. Karasu

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166 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(347) 223-4811
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Karasu, in the back of the Fort Greene standby Walter’s, is a sophisticated Japanese take on a neighborhood restaurant and bar. Alongside sake and Asian-inspired cocktails, the subtly glamorous room serves a full menu, including oysters doused in yuzu kosho mignonette and a whole red snapper.

A view of a bar that’s dimly lit with a handful of tables scattered about.
The bar at Karasu.
Karasu

1. Keys & Heels

1488 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075

Enter through a storefront that’s been modeled after an old locksmith and shoe repair shop to find this cocktail lounge. Inside, owner Massimo Lusardi (who owns nearby wine bar Uva) created a space that feels like a cozy living room with little lamps set on bistro tables. Customers can order creative riffs on classics like the Manhattan High Tea, which incorporates Early Grey-flavored syrup, while nibbling on Italian bar snacks like mini paninis and olives.

1488 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10075

2. Patent Pending

49 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
A dimly lit bar with stools lining one side.
The bar at Patent Pending.
Simmer/Patent Pending

This radio-themed speakeasy in the Radio Wave Building’s cellar executes on its concept with a menu sorting drinks into four categories: energy, frequency, vibration, and descent. Each drink is illustrated and described in painstaking detail, like the “Light Me Up,” with bourbon, Jamaican rum, mango black tea, amaro, yellow chartreuse, Sichuan peppercorn, lime, and pineapple. It ends up being a complex drink with layered flavors. During the day, the space up front is a coffee shop with speciality grab-and-go coffee, nitro cold brew, pastries, cookies, and chia parfaits.

49 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001

3. Dear Irving

55 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003
A room with a velvet couch surrounded by beaded curtains.
One of the rooms at Dear Irving.
Dear Irving

The team behind Raines Law Room, which set a new standard for speakeasy elegance, opened this similarly sexy bar in Gramercy in 2014. While the apartment-like entrance is anything but striking, the decor — including crystal curtains and a room inspired by Marie Antoinette — makes a dramatic statement. Drinks run the gamut from tiki to a wide selection of whiskeys.

55 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003

4. Little Branch

22 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

A nondescript door in the West Village leads to a stairway down to the basement-level Little Branch, the late and lauded bartender Sasha Petraske’s ode to refined cocktail culture. Bartenders in obligatory vests can make drinks from the twee menu or work out something on the spot. While the wait can be long on the weekends, the occasional live music paired with first-rate cocktails are worth the wait.

22 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014

5. Sunshine Laundromat

860 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

During Prohibition, speakeasies weren’t slinging fancy Manhattans but rather whatever hooch the staff could obtain under the alcohol ban. Sunshine Laundromat harks back to those simpler days, slinging bottles of Miller High Life behind a faux-washer door. The real draw, however, are the numerous pinball machines played by arcade fans.

860 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

6. Please Don't Tell

113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
An empty bar lined stools on one side and surrounded by a brick wall.
The bar at PDT.
Eric Medsker/Please Don’t Tell

Blame Please Don’t Tell bartender Jim Meehan — who is no longer affiliated with PDT, as its known — for the mid-aughts fascination with speakeasies. But more mercifully, the bar behind a phone booth in Crif Dogs signaled a sea change in New York cocktail culture. Its meticulous approach to both classic and hyper-specific house cocktails remains among the most sophisticated around. Sample a concoction laced with port along with the fancy hot dogs.

113 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

7. PS at Pine & Polk

300 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
A bar with a marble top, high chairs, and a bar in the background.
PS is located behind a shelf at Pine & Polk.
Ashley Sears/Pine & Polk

The newly opened provisions shop Pine & Polk is a front of sorts for PS, a speakeasy hidden behind a shelf of pricey chocolates. Inside, the vibe is more dinner party than a sleek cocktail den. Patrons can order variations on popular cocktails, such as a Negroni served in a tea cup, to pair with charcuterie boards. If a drink or snack stands out, there’s a good chance some of the ingredients can be bought in the shop.

300 Spring St
New York, NY 10013

8. The Hidden Pearl

621 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Corner seating with tables and banquettes by a bar with wooden stools at a bar.
The bar and banquette at the Hidden Pearl.
The Hidden Pearl

While this tropical Japanese-themed speakeasy behind Wanpaku is small, the brightly lit, airy space doesn’t usually feel overwhelmingly crowded. Owner Leif Huckman, who is also behind Donna in South Williamsburg (RIP), has called the bar a “Japanese clam shack,” and as such, small plates like spicy tuna served atop crispy rice or fried baby octopus round out the menu. The drinks menu has an entire section devoted to highballs, all of which are worth a try.

621 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

9. Fig. 19

131 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

Fig. 19’s secret pathway is more clever than most. Above the dance-centric hotspot Home Sweet Home, an art gallery has a door in the very back that leads to the hip watering hole. Chandeliers and accessible cocktails cater to a Lower East Side crowd, while the jazz soundtrack offers an escape from the rowdier scene below.

131 Chrystie St
New York, NY 10002

10. Attaboy

134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
A bar filled with patrons and a bartender behind the wooden bar.
The bar at Attaboy.
Attaboy

The tiny Attaboy, with only bar seats and three booths, does justice to the old Milk & Honey space. Ring the bell on the unmarked door to get in, though a line on most nights will give away the gimmick. Reservations and menus were once shunned, but a bartender will always happily chat about the ideal beverage.

134 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002

11. Saint Tuesday

24 Cortlandt Alley, New York, NY 10013

In true speakeasy fashion, Saint Tuesday is hidden in a cellar at the bottom of the Walker Hotel Tribeca with an entrance just off Cortland Alley. The intimate space is dimly lit with a few small wood tables and comes to life when live music fills the cave-like room. For cocktails, which an alum of Little Branch and Fresh Kills oversees, expect classics like Manhattans and martinis or go for a bartender’s choice.

24 Cortlandt Alley
New York, NY 10013

12. Peachy's

5 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

The bi-level Chinese Tuxedo is also home to subterranean Peachy’s, which announces its cheeky humor with a neon sign saying, “no photos, no fighting.” A dragon made of light is the centerpiece of the artful space. The cocktails lean heavily on tequila, mezcal, and rum.

5 Doyers St
New York, NY 10013

13. Mezcaleria La Milagrosa

149 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

La Milagrosa, a speakeasy and mezcaleria in one, lies behind an apparent freezer door in a Williamsburg deli. The narrow, woody space specializes in agave-based spirits used in drinks like a just-smoky-enough mezcal margarita. The hip-yet-friendly crowd is usually lost in conversation or bopping along to an eclectic music mix provided by rotating DJs.

149 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

14. Sunken Harbor Club

372 Fulton St 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The revival of Gage & Tollner, a historic chophouse in downtown Brooklyn, garnered plenty of attention. But when the restaurant’s upstairs bar Sunken Harbor Club opened in late 2021, anyone who enjoys geeking out about cocktails was equally excited for St. John Frizell’s bar opening. After all, Frizell (who’s also a partner at Gage & Tollner) ran a successful tiki-themed night at his Red Hook spot Fort Defiance for years. The nautical touches in the space translates to drinks like punch bowls adorned with flowers and other tropical libations.

372 Fulton St 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

15. Karasu

166 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
A view of a bar that’s dimly lit with a handful of tables scattered about.
The bar at Karasu.
Karasu

Karasu, in the back of the Fort Greene standby Walter’s, is a sophisticated Japanese take on a neighborhood restaurant and bar. Alongside sake and Asian-inspired cocktails, the subtly glamorous room serves a full menu, including oysters doused in yuzu kosho mignonette and a whole red snapper.

166 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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