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5 Speakeasies to Visit


Article by Jessica Fitch

Photography by Various

Bartenders and patrons alike kept the traditions of drinking alive in speakeasies during prohibition. Many people now attribute the rise of cocktails and creative drinks to this time period. While 1933 is long behind us, the fun of hidden bars continues around the nation. Passwords, hidden doors, dress codes, and fake signage together create a time capsule for us to enjoy: a time when drinking was an experience. Compiled below are five speakeasies I think you'd love to see.

The Owl Bar, Baltimore, Maryland

With some of the coolest history ever, the Owl Bar stands out as an instant favorite. Located in the Historic Belvedere, the Owl Bar has been around since 1903, serving patrons even through the Prohibition era. Many speakeasies today love to play in the past with hidden doors and such, but this bar had another secret way of letting it's customers know they had whiskey: the owls located around the bar would wink. The Owl Bar also features a long list of famous guests from Al Pacino to Queen Marie of Romania and some beautiful artwork.

Williams & Graham, Denver, Colorado

What looks like a normal bookstore from the front and on the inside, is actually a hidden bar. When you walk in, you'll be directed to find the shelves on drinking, or by famously boozy writers, pull on "Savoy" and from there you're ushered into a spirits-filled room and a dimly-lit bar. Not only do they have amazing drinks (that are on the low end of your typical speakeasy), but their food menu is diverse.

The Back Room, New York City, New York

One of only two original speakeasies in New York City, the Back Room loves its authenticity. They have original furniture and serve cocktails in teacups (as was common during the prohibition). Their decor and atmosphere, not to mention the original secret entrance, causes you to feel transported back in time. Definitely worth the gander, they have 25 & older nights, as well as events and reservations for six or more people.

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The Violet Hour, Chicago, Illinois

Hidden behind ever-evolving street art at the core of Wicker Park is an unexpectedly glitzy bar with velvet curtains and a marble bar. With three interior salons and candlelight, this bar has less of a hole-in-the-wall feeling (ironically) and has the upscale vibe of the finest type. They seasonally rotate cocktails and appetizers alike, so be sure to stop in more than once or you might miss something unique.

The Noble Experiment, San Diego, California

In the back of a local pub, the Neighborhood Alehouse, you'll find a stack of kegs sitting next to the bathroom. When you push onto them, the wall of kegs gives way to an interesting sight: their wall of skulls is their most well-known trait. Their website is also delightfully mysterious: it gives you only a number to text for reservations and they have some righteously good cocktails and a bar food menu.