Expat - New York · Nth America

NYC Speakeasy bars

Finding the NYC speakeasy bars was one of my NYC bucket list to-do’s.

What is a speakeasy bar?

It is an establishment that sold alcohol during the Prohibition which meant they were out of sight (hidden) from the general public.

How did you come to the list above?

I collected a list of bars from different sources off the Internet that said they were speakeasy’s. However, I understand that not all of these places are technically true speakeasy’s but where some have been designed to have a ‘look and feel’ like a speakeasy (basically, hidden) – so for all those speakeasy connoisseurs out there, settle down.

The Garret East
206 Ave A New York, NY 10009
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 5pm to late, except for Saturdays – open at 2pm
(visited 28 August, 2016)

This is the other The Garret bar. The Garret (on the west side) is one of the more famous speakeasy’s where it is hidden at the back of a burger place.

The Garret East is not hidden and could be easily found. The decor inside was fun – stuffed animals (the real type, not the toy type), and an arrangement of different seating options (semi circle booths, seats at the back, bar).

The drinks were pretty good.

95 Ave A New York, NY 10009
Hours: Sunday to Tuesday – 5PM – 1AM, Wednesday to Saturday – 5PM-2AM
(visited 28 August, 2016)

Cienfuegos is a colorful Cuban rum house that is said to be “part birdcage, part mansion parlor”. It has a speakeasy quality about as it is located above another bar and you have to enter and exit through a curtain and via staircase.

The drinks were lovely. Mine was very fresh and fruity!

Interesting note about food:

We ordered some delicious pork belly sliders when we visited – they were absolutely divine! However, the restaurateur who (co or wholly) owns a lot of bars and restaurants around NYC have turned them into vegan places.

Pork belly sliders no-more. Husband and I will just have to reminisce using this photo.

The Blind Barber
339 E 10th St New York, NY 10009
Hours: Monday to Saturday – 6pm – 4am, Sunday – Closed
(visited 28 August, 2016)

The Blind Barber is true speakeasy style as it is hidden behind… you guessed it, a barber shop.

You need to enter through the doors of an operating barber shop before you arrive into a fairly large bar area.

We arrived during ‘happy hour’ and grabbed a couple of drinks and sat in a corner.

The drinks were lovely and the bar person was great, he really knew his stuff.

We had to exit through another door that led us out next to the barber shop.

Please Don’t Tell (PDT)
113 St. Marks Place (between 1st Ave and Avenue A)
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 6pm to late
(visited 28 August, 2016)

Please Don’t Tell is possibly one of the most famous speakeasy bars in New York.

To enter, you walk down into the Crif Dogs restaurant.

After a few steps in, you will see an old-fashioned phone booth which you need to go into and follow the instructions inside. Your call will be picked up by the hostess and that’s when you’ll be let in.

Of course, since this is one of the most famous speakeasy’s, this place is very popular and very busy. Husband and I had to wait in the hot dog restaurant, so while we waited we ordered a hot dog each and fries. When it was our turn we entered through the phone booth and curtains.

The bar inside is small but not tiny. We were seated at the bar and we ordered our drinks.

Our drinks were delicious. I again ordered something fruity and fresh.

Dear Irving
55 Irving Place New York, NY 10003
Hours: Monday to Thursday – 5pm to 2am, Friday & Saturday 5pm to 3am, Sunday 5pm to 1am
(visited 15 April, 2017)

We went to Dear Irving after dinner with friends from out of town. I did not call to make a reservation, so it was a true walk-in situation.

To enter the venue, you need to walk up a set of stairs and through a red curtain.

We were lucky enough to be seated immediately. We were also lucky enough to get the back room of the venue (almost) to ourselves.

The room we sat in was beautifully decorated. The coolest part of the whole night was when we ordered our drinks – we had to turn on a switch!

The service was excellent and the drinks were as good. The front part of the room is gorgeously decorated as well with crystal type bead curtains.

To be continued after I visit more bars…

The irony

I don’t really drink alcohol. I think in 2016 I had three alcoholic drinks. It’s not a religious or health thing, it’s just that I feel awful and glow a bright red (Asian flush?). So this just proves how my FOMO still drives me to do things that I wouldn’t even enjoy to its full extent!

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