The Coolest Speakeasies In America

Franklin mortgage & investment co companyFacebook/The-Franklin-Mortgage-Investment-CoPhilly’s Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. was inspired by the country’s largest bootleg alcohol ring during Prohibition.

Prohibition was repealed 81 years ago today, but some of America’s hidden speakeasies are still around.

The secret watering holes haven’t changed much, from the passwords required on entry to the calibre of handcrafted cocktails served.

We dug up the hottest and most exclusive speakeasies in the US, and even gave away their addresses. Let’s keep this one on the DL.

Did we forget your favourite speakeasy? Let us know in the comments.


The Chapter Room
5600 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs

Join the Brewniversity craft beer loyalty club to gain access to this modern-day speakeasy in the basement of the Taco Mac, which puts a large emphasis on craft beer. The Chapter Room maintains no fewer than 18 different kinds on draft at a time, as well as many others in bottles. Cozy up to Bobb, the bar's 'overseer,' and you may also have access to the rare and limited edition beers in his secret stash.


Midnight Cowboy
313 E. 6th St.

Midnight Cowboy was formerly a massage parlor, and still sports the original 'Midnight Cowboy Modelling Oriental Massage' sign out front. Reservations are required, and when you get there you're free to enjoy classic and creative cocktails, as long as you leave all your mobile devices behind -- they have no place at this lounge.


The Owl Bar circa 1934

The Owl Bar
1 E. Chase St.

The historic Hotel Belvedere is the resting place of the Owl Bar, which has been serving fancy mixed drinks, beer, and wine for the last 100+ years. The bar served as the stomping grounds for a number of famous and non-famous Baltimore natives, and remained unnamed until after Prohibition. The Owl Bar also has an exquisite food menu, including weekend brunch.


7 Sanborn Ct., Somerville

Backbar is hard to find, but worth the hunt for its artisanal cocktails like the Singapore Smokes -- the bar's take on the Singapore Sling. Just a short ride on the orange line northwest of Boston and Cambridge, backbar has become a popular haunt for twenty- and thirty-something Boston-area hipsters.

Brick & Mortar
569 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

569 Mass Ave. used to be the home of the now-defunct bar and lounge The Enormous Room before Brick & Mortar took over the space above Central Kitchen. Order a craft beer, or let your bartender craft you a drink strong enough to cure whatever brought you there in the first place.


The Green Mill
4802 N. Broadway Ave.

Known for its fast jazz and stiff drinks, The Green Mill was where Al Capone liked to hang out. Get there early in the evening and you can even sit in his booth. It's not such a secret anymore, but it retains the charm and history of the 1920s.

610 N. Rush St.

Pass the sandwich counter at David Burke's Bacon Bar and a tuxedo-wearing bouncer will grant you entry to JIMMY, a wood-paneled cocktail bar. Drinks are inspired by films of the 1970s, and are heightened by bar noshes like goat cheese fondue and pinot noir Jello.


4513 Travis St.

Smyth operates under a no-menu system -- tell the bartender what you want, and he or she will make you a custom cocktail to your taste. Timeless yet contemporary, Smyth is a part of oyster bar and restaurant The Establishment, and takes reservations on OpenTable under these auspices.


Williams & Graham
3160 Tejon St.

If you're not much of a reader, you may never chance upon Williams & Graham, which is tucked away through a secret door disguised as a bookcase. With a seemingly limitless bar and equally tempting food menu, W&G creates an atmosphere that transports its guests to simpler, more nostalgic times.


The Oakland
201 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale

The Oakland is a bourbon-lover's paradise just a 15-minute drive north of Detroit which even stocks a few bottles of Pappy Van Winkle -- the bourbon with its own cult following -- on the top shelf. Seating is first come, first served, and obnoxious cell phone usage is strictly prohibited.


109 SW 2nd Ave.

Voted the best new bar in the Broward/Palm Beach area, Stache comes alive with cabaret and burlesque performances, DJ sets, and a Bible-thick list of cocktails, wines, and spirits. Try their exotic Voodoo Child #2, with Ron Zacapa rum, Licor 43, fresh lemon juice, pineapple, and nutmeg dust.


The Eighteenth Cocktail Bar
2511 Bissonnet St.

You'll know you found the side-door entrance to The Eighteenth Cocktail Bar when you're greeted by a mugshot of Al Capone on the other side. Dimly lit and timelessly '20s, this Houston bar creates a fun and casual environment that makes you feel like you're getting away with something so good it's illegal.


Boba 7 (Labobatory)
518 W. 7th St.

Boba 7, AKA Labobatory, is tucked away in the back of a Thai restaurant. Specialties include alcoholic bubble tea drinks made with Heineken, Bailey's, tequila, or rum in different combinations.

La Descarga
1159 N. Western Ave.

Travel back in time to 1950s Havana where this bar, named for the Latin jazz music of Cuba, is hopping all night with live entertainment, Dark & Stormies, and a 'Dirty Dancing' ambience.

Townhouse (Del Monte Speakeasy)
52 Windward Ave., Venice

The bar was opened by an Italian immigrant in 1915, but when Prohibition came around he turned the upstairs into a grocery store and moved the bar downstairs, out of sight. Today the Townhouse uses fresh juices, hand-cut ice, and house-made syrups to craft beautiful and delicious cocktails.


International Exports Ltd. ('The Safe House')
779 North Front St.

An inconspicuous placard, labelled International Exports Ltd., marks the entrance to this espionage-themed establishment offering refuge to more than six million visitors since 1966 (if they can guess the password correctly). The bar was founded by a James Bond aficionado and furnished to a spy's liking, with a secret phone booth, weaponry, Bond memorabilia, and a tube that runs through the whole building and is used to mix the Safe House's signature martini.


The News Room
990 Nicollet Mall

Featuring an impressive beer list and speakeasy-esque cocktail menu, The News Room is a news-themed bar that pays homage to the heyday of newspapers. Catch a headline from the wallpaper made up of greatest front pages, or glance up at one of the many TV monitors that show local and national broadcasts.


The Patterson House
1711 Division St.

The Patterson House screams pre-Prohibition Era, with its 50-item-long cocktail menu, cosmopolitan vibe, and bartenders dressed in Capone-style getups. The bar gets its name from the former Tennessee Governor Malcolm R. Patterson, who vetoed the return of statewide prohibition in 1909.


Dutch Kills
24-27 Jackson Ave.

Marked with a sign that simply says 'Bar,' Dutch Kills is making a name for itself with its high-end cocktails cooled with custom-cut ice. Long Island City's burgeoning bar has a menu that's 12 pages long, and gives the ingredients and recipe for each of its handcrafted beverages.

Angel's Share
8 Stuyvesant St.

An unmarked door inside a Japanese restaurant leads to one of the East Village's hippest bars, known for its creative bespoke cocktails made by Japanese bartenders. You can guarantee the place will never be overcrowded, as a no-standing rule and cap on groups of four are strictly enforced.


The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
112 S. 18th St.

Al Capone's got nothing on The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. In the late 1920s it served as the front for the largest alcohol ring in the country, running about 10,000 gallons a day by truck. Today the Philly bar pays homage with a too-legit-to-quit cocktail menu, divided into categories such as Required Reading, Easy Going, and Rebellious Spirits.


Circa 33
3348 SE Belmont St.

This neighbourhood haunt named for the year 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, manages to make a splash in a city bursting with microbreweries. In addition to its 20th century-inspired cocktails, Circa 33 features more than 100 whiskeys in its library-style bar and a late-night food menu that will make you drool. Blue cheese nachos, anyone?


Noble Experiment
777 G St.

A stack of kegs inside a downtown restaurant obscures a hidden door, the entrance to the East Village's Noble Experiment. The intimate, dark bar features Rembrandt-style paintings, white booths, and a crystal chandelier. It's as exclusive as it is gaudy; reservations by text are almost always required days in advance.


Tavern Law
1406 12th Ave.

The upscale cocktail bar houses a secret upstairs lounge called Needle and Thread where, according to Yelp reviews, your bartender is a 'walking, talking, cocktail-shaking encyclopedia of all things alcohol-related.' And it's not just the drinks that are divine; order the sous-vide fried chicken and thank us later.


Harold Black
212 7th St. SE

A wall in a nondescript section of Eastern Market slides to reveal Harold Black, a true speakeasy with its no flash photography, no cell phones, and no loud conversations rule. Named for the owner's grandfather, Harold Black doesn't have a true website or phone number, and reservations are strongly recommended.

728 King St.

This swanky Alexandria, Virginia speakeasy was designed as a throwback to the Renaissance period, complete with original woodwork, imported chandeliers, and jacket and tie attire. General manager and sommelier Todd Thrasher crafts whimsical cocktails like the Las Ramblas, made with sweet Vermouth, Barbancourt rum, and housemade Cola.

New York City is a hotspot of speakeasies.

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