If there’s one thing New Yorkers love, it’s being in the know about what is going on in the city. Especially when they feel like they’re part of a select few — a secret club — that gets to enjoy a little slice of the city that the rest of the world doesn’t know about yet. That’s why the concept of the speakeasy is so enthralling in a city that can feel like the whole world has access to it. These days, a “secret” bar doesn’t have quite the same secrecy that they used to during Prohibition Era. But you can still find a few lovely and hidden speakeasies that will sweep you off their feet with their exciting libations, stylish spaces and trendy crowds. Here are some of the best bars in NYC that you might want to check out on your next trip.
This tiny, warehouse-like spot on the Lower East Side of Manhattan has created quite a stir among the city’s nightlife-lovers but still remains a hidden gem. It was opened by the superstars that started Milk & Honey, one of the original speakeasies in modern-day New York. They serve fabulous cocktails with names like the Penicillin (ginger and scotch combo) or the Late Night Reviver. Leave it to the bartenders to pick your poison, because they don’t even have a beverage menu to choose from. Knock or ring the buzzer at 134 Eldridge Street at the window marked M&H Tailors and Alterations — and get there early if you want to find a seat!
• 134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
The Raines Law Room
If you find yourself on the west side of Manhattan, pop into the Raines Law Room for a delicious cocktail. One of many popular spots opened by seasoned cocktail artist Meaghan Dorman, this is the true original she is known for. It’s sexy and sleek, and you’ll be enveloped in a sultry glow as soon as you walk in. Every table has a server call button that you can use after you’ve taken your time in deciding on exactly the right cocktail for your mood. The William is a favorite at the bar, made with cachaca, Suze, cucumber and lime. When you arrive just head down the stairs at 48 West 17th Street and press the buzzer to get in.
• 24 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016
Little Branch has been around for a few years, but its awesome West Village location makes it a continued favorite. It’s hiding in plain sight on a busy corner in lower Manhattan — just look for the maroon metal door as well as a bouncer and probably a line to get in. Inside, find a table and peruse the list of Sasha Petraske’s famous concoctions. The lights are kept dim and the bartenders take their time preparing your cocktail — so plan to spend at least a relaxing hour or two here.
• 22 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
PDT stands for Please Don’t Tell, an apt name for a secret watering hole. The original bartender wrote one of the best-known books on craft cocktails, and you won’t be disappointed in the offerings they have here. They are creative without being TOO bizarre, so drinkers of all kinds will find something to enjoy. The central East Village location makes it a great stopover before or after dinner in the neighborhood. In order to get in, just pop into the wooden phone booth inside Crif Dogs, the hot dog stand, and dial “1.” A host will estimate the wait time for you, and be prepared for at least a short wait.
• 113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
If you love a beautifully made cocktail, check out one of these amazing speakeasies next time you’re in NYC!