From 1920 to 1933, the United States government put in place the Eighteenth Amendment that put a ban on the production, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages across the entire country. At that time, drinking alcohol had to be done in secret so underground speakeasies were formed to sell alcohol illegally. Even though producing and selling alcohol is legal today, the idea of visiting a secret bar appeals to many people. These speakeasies can be visited today and can be a little more exciting than walking into an everyday bar.
324 W. 46th St, New York, NY
Speakeasies in the 1920s were difficult to find for authorities because are no signs on the outside of the building to indicate that it’s a bar. The Bar Centrale, located in Hell’s Kitchen, looks like a residence and resembles every other brownstone in the area. Once behind the front doors, you’ll find a parlor that looks like it’s straight out of the flapper era. It’s a good idea to make a reservation for this bar because it tends to fill up quickly, especially after a Broadway show is over.
277 Church St #A, New York, NY
Located in Tribeca, this speakeasy is marked only with a “277” on a black door. Travel down the dark stairs and depending on what day you get to visit, you’ll see a live jazz band. The main bar section is modeled with a Tokyo aesthetic and the dishes are American-Japanese cuisine. Their wide variety of spirits, especially whiskey, are used in their creative drinks.
131 Chrystie St, New York, NY
Located across the street from Sara D. Roosevelt Park, this speakeasy is harder to find than the rest because it’s behind an art gallery. The art gallery, Envoy Enterprises, showcases contemporary artwork in a bright room. Fig. 19 is at the back of the gallery through a nondescript door. Once inside Fig. 19, you’ll be greeted by a warmly lit room with chandeliers and a menu of craft cocktails.
102 Norfolk St, New York, NY
In the Lower East Side, the Back Room is behind a door that reads “Lower East Side Toy Company.” After you go through the gate and travel down the stairs, you’ll be stepping back into time because this speakeasy was one of the original speakeasies that were around during the days of Prohibition. They’ve kept the old feel of the days by serving beers in paper bags and even keeping a separate room secret.