The so-called speak-easy bars date back to the time when it was illegal to sell alcohol, so they had to be creative finding more hidden and secret locations for the bars.
The bars were not only hidden for the authorities. One of the more extreme activists, Carrie Nation, believed that drunkenness was the cause of many problems in society, and apparently went around smashing bars with a hatchet! The ironic thing is that there is a speak-easy bar named after her in Boston…
The bars may not be that secret anymore, but you should absolutely know what to look for. Here is a guide to find a few of them;
Please don’t tell (PDT) – 113 St Marks Pl
Walk down the stairs and inside Crif Dogs. About half way in, on the left-hand wall, you find a phone booth. Pick up, follow the instructions, and hope they will let you in.
Angel’s Share – 8 Stuyvesant St
Walk up the stairs and enter an Asian restaurant. On the left-hand wall you will see a very anonymous wooden door, that is where you want to enter. Once inside, there are a few tables along the windows, and stools at the bar.
PS: They do not accept groups larger than four people. And nope, don’t even bother asking if it is OK if you split up…
Little Branch – 22 7th Ave S
By the crossing of Leroy St and 7th Ave S, you find a small white brick-stone building. If you did not know what you were looking for, you would definitely walk straight past the anonymous dark door. It is only when you get closer you can see the discrete writing on the bar sign. The next obstacle is to get down the steep stairs safe and sound. If you make it, you can sit down in one of the small booths and be rewarded with amazing cocktails in a cool retro environment.
To be continued….
Have you been to any secret bars in New York? Or somewhere else?