The Best Hidden Bar in Every State
We scoured all 50 states to pinpoint the best secret bars and speakeasies. Here's where to find them — and how to get in.
A liquor store freezer opens to reveal a secret stairway to an underground bar. A fake video store requires patrons to answer movie trivia questions to enter a Tarantino-themed speakeasy behind the wall. A broom closet leads to a long hallway which leads to a cozy hideaway with craft brews on tap. An unmarked door in an alley leads to the most incredible cocktail spot you’ve ever been to.
Speakeasies and secret bars are growing in popularity, and cities across the country are getting in on the action. We scoured every state to pinpoint the best of the best secret bars and speakeasies in America. Read on to discover these truly hidden gems — and, more importantly, how to get in.
In This Article
Birmingham, AL: The Marble Ring
Tucked away behind a “Doctor Who”-esque blue Police Phone Call Box in Birmingham is The Marble Ring — an intimate and glamorous speakeasy. The bar gets its name from the curious Zelda Fitzgerald quote, “I hope you die in the marble ring.” No need for a password! Simply pick up the phone inside the phone box and a hostess will either seat you or put you on the list.
Anchorage, AK: The Speakeasy
Walk into the multi-level Williwaw Social building and spot the phone booth next to the elevator. If the blue light is on, THE Speakeasy is open for business. Simply pick up the phone, and a bartender will answer, asking how many you have in your party. If there’s room for you, you’ll be given a password and can knock on the speakeasy door upstairs for entry. The Anchorage joint serves up classic favorites and an impressive cocktail list of its own. In addition, guests can visit the rooftop bar in Williwaw or grab a burger at Alaska Burger Co.
Chandler, AZ: The Ostrich
This underground speakeasy below Crust Simply Italian in historic downtown Chandler is drenched in history. Once a watering hole for elite (and sometimes nefarious) travelers, The Ostrich is housed in the basement tunnels leading to the old railroad station and the Crowne Plaza San Marcos golf course clubhouse. The bar gets its name from the basement’s former life as an ostrich feather storage facility after World War I, as Dr. AJ Chandler hoped the accessory would take off. It didn’t, but no matter — guests can now enjoy well-crafted classic cocktails and feel like they are back in the roaring 20s.
Bentonville, AR: Undercroft
Located behind a nondescript door marked “coatroom,” below the stunning restored church digs of the Preacher’s Son restaurant is Undercroft. This dark and sleek basement bar features ancestral cocktails — early 19th-century style cocktails like the Old Fashioned and stiffer libations like the Manhattan. If you aren’t dining in the restaurant, you can enter from the street through a side archway marked “bar.”
San Diego, CA: False Idol
Part tiki bar, part speakeasy is False Idol. This San Diego spot is hidden inside Craft & Commerce and to enter, guests must venture through the restaurant’s walk-in fridge, where jars of pineapple and citrus fruit are stored. Once inside the bar, guests can feast their eyes on a Polynesian paradise, complete with preserved pufferfish, a water fixture and colored glass buoys. The menu includes classics like Mai Thais and Painkillers, but the bar also creates its own unique concoctions like the punch bowl-style Alkala the Fierce. The bar’s ‘volcano’ erupts and seats shake every time someone orders it!
Denver, CO: B&GC
Reservations are encouraged at Denver’s most hidden bar. Text the number listed on B&GC’s site on the day you wish to visit with your party information. To find this underground speakeasy, make your way to the back of the Halcyon Hotel and you will spot an unmarked door with a light above it. Press the golden bell and a hostess will appear to lead you through a mechanical room and finally enter B&GC (which stands for Boys and Girls Club), where a warm, inviting atmosphere and strong drinks await. The bartenders here will be happy to make you a custom concoction, or you can stick to the fantastic menu.
Middletown, CT: Conspiracy
Arguably one of Connecticut’s coolest bars, Conspiracy is the perfect mixture of classy digs, innovative cocktails and great food. To enter this chic speakeasy, find the marquee off of Middletown’s Main Street and take the stairs to the second floor. Creative cocktails grace the menu, and a fan-favorite is Her Majesty, a boozy lavender-colored gin drink fit for a queen. But don’t sleep on the small plates, especially the waffles — pick between a birthday, peppermint mocha or poutine one!
Wilmington, DE: Hummingbird to Mars
Once inside Catherine Rooney’s Irish Pub, find the black door with the gold hummingbird motif above and ring the bell for entry to Hummingbird to Mars. The bar’s unique name comes from Texas senator Morris Sheppard who once said, “There is as much chance of repealing the eighteenth amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.” The bar features a relaxed atmosphere with live music and delicious Irish bites from the restaurant below.
Orlando, FL: Mathers Social Gathering
In the middle of downtown Orlando tucked away on the third floor of a vintage furniture store is the classy Mathers Social Gathering speakeasy. Guests are greeted by a doorman and then travel up an elevator where they have to enter the bar via a hidden door in a library. Soaring ceilings, dark wood and antiques give off a seriously cool vibe. Relax in a cozy chair and sip on one of Mathers’ innovative drinks, like their smoked “Envy” cocktail with Angel’s Envy bourbon or the Mathers Frose. They also feature “social potions” — large-format drinks that serve up to 8 people — and tableside Old Fashioneds.
Atlanta, GA: Red Phone Booth
Red Phone Booth isn’t just a speakeasy — it’s a prohibition experience. If you’re lucky enough to know the secret phone number or know someone who will give it out, you can enter this speakeasy via an antique red phone booth in the Dailey’s building in downtown Atlanta. The bar’s posh interior, a robust bourbon selection, scotch and whiskey, and an impressive humidor all create a memorable experience. Additionally, guests can apply to be an exclusive member for various perks, including sofa reservations and a locker in the humidor.
Kailua, HI: Gaslamp
Gaslamp is a secret, quiet lounge with killer cocktails hidden within the walls of the loud and boisterous sports bar environment of the Kailua Town Pub and Grill. To enter, you’ll need a reservation and a password that will come with further instructions. Hint: the entrance is behind a phone booth in the rear of the pub. The drinks at this cozy spot will delight all of your senses.
Boise, ID: Press & Pony
This spot is first come, first served and trust us when we say you definitely want to be there first. The Boise spot prides itself on being a cocktail bar curated by the tastes of the experts tending bar at the Press and Pony. The cozy watering hole offers classics, like an Old Fashioned, or you can pick your poison and tell the bartender your preferences, and they’ll make you a custom cocktail.
Chicago, IL: Chicago Magic Lounge
Below a neon sign reading “misdirection,” guests enter through a laundromat complete with secret doors inside to find the Chicago Magic Lounge: part speakeasy bar, part magic show. Guests can stay at the bar and imbibe a signature cocktail like the popular Smoke and Mirrors (mezcal, amaro, fernet), or they can buy a ticket to a magic show at one of the Chicago-based lounge’s two theaters. Don’t forget to check out the library inside, full of magic memorabilia and books.
Indianapolis, IN: Wiseguy Lounge
Goodfellas Pizza is an Indy fave known for its New York-style slices as big as your face, but there’s much more to it if you keep looking. Hidden in the back of the restaurant is the Wiseguy Lounge, which is a Prohibition-style speakeasy. Once you step inside, you’ll be transported back to the roaring 20s in this dimly lit bar, full of dark wood and cozy couches. Wiseguy has more than 400 bourbons to choose from and rotating beers on tap and hand-crafted cocktails.
Ames, IA: Cellar 626
In the back of Cyclone Liquors in Ames, you’ll find an unassuming steel door. Open the door and you’ll stumble into Cellar 626, one of Iowa’s best-hidden gems. Thanks to its liquor store neighbor, its spirits, beer and wine selection are unparalleled. The bar is only open on Thursdays and Fridays, so plan accordingly. If you go, order the Smoked Stan, Cellar 626’s take on a smoked Old Fashioned.
Manhattan, KS: 324 Speakeasy
You’ll have to be a member (or know the password on select days) to gain access to this secretive, upscale bar. Located in the Marshall Theater, the doorway to 324 Speakeasy is nondescript and lit with a single light and a key card reader. Several membership options range from a day pass to a founding member. Non-members can enter for free on Wednesdays and Thursdays if they know the password (found on their Facebook page.) This gives the feel of being in an exclusive club, and the attention to detail, from the decor to the selection of spirits, is unparalleled.
Louisville, KY: Hell or High Water
One of the most coveted spots in Louisville is Hell or High Water. Located on the backside of Whiskey Row, this swanky speakeasy has a hidden entrance and a two-story library. Guests enter through a gallery that houses vintage and antique pieces before entering the intimate bar. The menu is meticulously crafted and the bar has an extensive selection of bourbons; it is in Kentucky after all!
New Orleans, LA: Polo Club Lounge
Upon entering the grand Windsor Court Hotel, head up the stairs to find the Polo Club Lounge situated across from The Grill Room. Immerse yourself in plush surroundings, including overstuffed furniture and dark woods that harken to an old English club. Even better than the gorgeous decor? This is the place in New Orleans for a Sazerac. Order the lounge’s signature drink, the Pinhook Sazerac, and relax as live jazz musicians serenade you. Heaven.
Portland, ME: Bramhall
Stone walls, stunning stained glass windows and dim candlelight greet patrons of Bramhall as they descend down the stairs off of Portland’s Congress Street. The stately digs of Bramhall pair well with their inventive comfort food and fantastic local beer selection. Creative and cheeky cocktails poured by inviting bartenders make this speakeasy a hidden gem. If you go, try the ‘You Son of a Bitch, I’m In,’ which is an unexpected and delightful mixture of whiskey and grapefruit.
Baltimore, MD: The Elk Room
This cozy speakeasy oozes 20’s charm. Find the little black door adjacent to sister restaurant Tagliata and be prepared to be whisked away by The Elk Room’s ambiance and attention to detail, right down to the huge elk head keeping a close eye on things. The drinks are expertly crafted, and only a few patrons are allowed in, so each guest feels well taken care of. There’s even a private, members-only cigar bar and poker room to add to the speakeasy feel.
Hudson, MA: Less Than Greater Than
Grab a scoop of ice cream and then head to the back of New City Microcreamery, where you’ll find a different kind of treat. Less Than Greater Than is an ice cream lover’s dream bar, as one of their signature drinks uses the ice cream bases from New City and adds spirits, whipping them quickly with liquid nitrogen to create their “Spirits and Cream” cocktails.
Ann Arbor, MI: The Last Word
A red light and a small plaque with “The LW” are the only indications that a speakeasy is hidden behind a plain door on the corner of W Huron Street and 1st in Ann Arbor. The beverage menu is comprised of chapters ascending from lighter cocktails to heavier nightcaps and also includes an impressive selection of bourbons. To really get in the speakeasy mood, The Last Word offers several absinthe creations.
Minneapolis, MN: Volstead’s Emporium
Head through the alley on Lake Street and Lyndale in downtown Minneapolis and swing a left at the dumpsters and there’s a secret door with a red light leading to one of the best cocktail bars in Minnesota. Once inside, Volstead’s Emporium does not skimp on the details. Guests are transported back to the 1920s with a secret room in the bar, mirrors that open outwards (just in case you need to dump your drink if there’s a raid), and dim candlelight. The cocktail menu rotates seasonally.
Starkville, MS: The Guest Room
Ranked as one of the best-hidden bars in the nation, The Guest Room is a cozy underground bar soaked in Southern charm. A copper bar, a 48-star flag and antique tin ceiling tiles take guests back in time. The Guest Room can be found under Restaurant Tyler, accessed via a door in the alley marked by a single light. The food is upscale Southern fare, and the drinks are well-crafted using house-made ingredients. You may have to wait to get in — while this bar is hidden, it’s no secret among Starkville locals.
Kansas City, MO: P.S.
Located inside the Hotel Phillips, the upscale P.S. serves up Prohibition-style cocktails and transports visitors back in time. The Kansas City-based bar gets its name from the space’s history as the hotel’s sorting room and can be entered via an unmarked door in the hotel’s basement. Reservations are accepted and this stylish speakeasy serves everything from craft cocktails to beloved libations.
Bozeman, MT: Devil’s Toboggan
The name “Devil’s Toboggan” comes from a Prohibition-era poster of a man sledding into hell for drinking, harkening to a different time when speakeasies housed the law-breakers. Now, you’ll only feel like you’re breaking the law as you open the unmarked door upstairs in the Cannery District building and step into Devil’s Toboggan. Red velvet curtains and crystal light fixtures adorn the space, and guests sip on classic cocktails like the Sazerac, French 75, or a Manhattan and indulge in handmade truffles in this Bozeman spot.
Lincoln, NE: The Other Room
Like any good speakeasy, The Other Room’s entrance is inconspicuous. Tucked away in an alley in the Haymarket District in Lincoln, the door to The Other Room lies behind a wrought iron gate. Above it, you will see either a red or a green light — green means they are accepting patrons, red means wait in line. With a capacity of just 25, this cozy speakeasy asks you to turn your phone on silent and pay in cash only. Order the James Beard-nominated cocktail “The Mumbai Exorcism” — you won’t be disappointed.
Reno, NV: Shim’s Surplus Supplies
A faux-army surplus storefront called Shim’s Surplus Supplies is the front for this Reno speakeasy. But don’t be fooled; you’ll have to go around back to a plain gray door that reads “Shim’s Deliveries Only” to enter. The bar menu features the classics but with a twist. The classic Manhattan is souped up with chocolate bitters, for instance. Shim’s is the go-to spot for entertainment and hosts live music, art exhibits or trivia.
Manchester, NH: 815 Cocktails & Provisions
Come with the password (found on Facebook weekly…although it is currently suspended due to COVID-19), or don’t bother at all at New Hampshire’s original speakeasy located off Manchester’s main strip. 815 Cocktails & Provisions features a world-class selection of rare whiskeys along with really creative cocktails (including one with chocolate protein powder!). They also have a few non-alcoholic beverages on the menu if you’re worried about a police raid (or if you just don’t drink!).
Morristown, NJ: The Laundromat
Guests must be 23 and up to enter this hidden bar…if they can find it. Don’t bring your laundry here, as the fake laundromat at 4 Dehart Street is the cover for The Laundromat bar, which is downstairs. Large fireplaces, stone floors and leather furniture welcome patrons into the cozy tavern-like bar below. Be ready to groove to live music if you visit the Morristown spot Wednesday-Saturday.
Albuquerque, NM: Founders
It’s no password, no entry at this New Mexico hidden bar. Inside El Rey’s Liquors in downtown Albuquerque, a man sits on a stool in the back next to a freezer. Find the man, tell him the password and show him your ID and the freezer door will open, revealing a staircase down to Founders. (To acquire the password, you’ll have to email Founders or check out their Facebook page in advance.) Visitors will immediately notice the many glowing bottles of locally-produced spirits or homemade infusions. Local flavors are the focal point for Founders, and the mixologists take their craft seriously here.
New York, NY: Bathtub Gin
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…well, you must visit this one. Harkening back to Prohibition-era ’20s and the many variations of homemade “bathtub gin,” this bar of the same name is known for its classic gin cocktails. A large bathtub sits in the middle of the room, beckoning guests to take selfies. You can find this gin joint in the back of Chelsea’s The Stone Coffee Company, where a door attendant will let you in via a hidden door after 5 p.m.
Asheville, NC: Antidote
While not hidden per se, this classy bar in Asheville, a town full of breweries, has a sense of exclusivity. Because it does not offer food, the state classifies it as a “private club,” meaning you have to have a membership to get in. But unlike other pricey membership-only bars, you’ll only have to cough up a penny to get on the list. As a result, the atmosphere at Antidote is unmatched. There are plenty of little nooks and crannies on the first two floors for privacy, or you can find the hidden door and head up the stairs to the rooftop bar.
Bismarck, ND: 510.2
Inside a building that houses two other bars off of East Main Avenue in downtown Bismarck is the quiet speakeasy 510.2. There is a secret door to enter, but it’s up to guests to find it. Unfortunately, the bar does not divulge where it is, nor are there any hints we could scrounge up online. So be prepared for a hunt, but once inside, you will be treated to delicious cocktails with a turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Check out the stunning octopus mural behind the bar and selection of Instagram-able drinks.
Cincinnati, OH: The Video Archive
This Quentin Tarantino-inspired bar requires you to brush up on your film facts before entering. When you walk into the Cincinnati video storefront, a clerk will approach you and ask you a few questions about a specific movie (which changes every day). Search the video store to find the film and pull it, and a secret door will open up, leading you to The Video Archive bar. Movies are screened on the outdoor patio. There is a “mystery shot wheel.” Nods to Tarantino’s work adorn the walls. Need we say more?
Tulsa, OK: The Bull in the Alley
A cryptic website only touting a phone number and “call for reservations” adds to the secrecy surrounding this speakeasy-like steakhouse in Tulsa. To find it, look for a large green door with a bronze bull hanging above it in the alley behind The Tavern. Elegant, delicious food awaits guests inside, and many reviewers claim they indulged in the best steak they’ve ever had. Classic cocktails, local brews and live piano music take the experience to the next level. While not exactly easy on the wallet, The Bull in the Alley is the place to go for a celebratory night out in Tulsa.
Bend, OR: Broom Closet
This tiny speakeasy is tricky to find, but the hunt is half the fun. First, enter the door marked “Broom Closet” in the art house of the Old St. Francis School hotel, and from there, you will have to keep investigating the walls to find the bar’s entrance. During the day, the Bend, OR bar acts as a bakery for hotel guests only and opens to the public in the afternoons with a wide selection of bourbon and whiskey.
Pittsburgh, PA: Umami
Situated above Round Corner Cantina, the entrance to this Japanese pub on 38th street is sparsely marked with the number 202 and a red lantern hanging above. Open the door with the intricate dragon handle and you are in for delicious Japanese street food, sushi and the most extensive selection of Japanese Whisky in Pittsburgh. Umami serves up sushi into the wee hours of the morning on Friday and Saturday, meaning you can sip while you sush…what a dream!
Providence, RI: Justine’s
You arrive at the address off of Olneyville Square in Providence, and although it may not seem like it, you ARE in the right spot. A lingerie store acts as the front for this speakeasy. Make your way past the bra displays and show your ID to the bouncer at the checkout counter to gain entry into Justine’s. The decor is sexy and elegant and the quiet music and relaxed atmosphere make Justine’s an ideal date spot. It’s easy to spend the whole evening here as you enjoy classic cocktails like Sloe Gin Fizzes and Manhattans.
Greenville, SC: Vault & Vator
Inviting, intimate and a little hard to find are just a few ways to describe this moody subterranean bar in Greenville. You can enter Vault & Vator by heading down the steep hill to the back of the Edward Jones Building off of Main Street. Read up on the house rules before you go — they discourage cell phone use, standing, sweats and flip-flops. You also won’t be able to order shots here, as this classy speakeasy specializes in handcrafted libations. Even better? Patrons can select two adjectives to describe what type of drink they want, and the bartender will craft a custom cocktail.
Rapid City, SD: Blind Lion
The authentic Blind Lion speakeasy sits below the local watering hole Murphy’s Pub in Rapid City. While the giant space at Murphy’s Pub can house up to 700 people, below is a different story with its quiet, no-cell-phones-allowed atmosphere. If you can get in, bartenders dressed in ’20s garb will craft you top-notch drinks using freshly squeezed juices and ice-carved off the block. Of course, you’ll have to text the bar for a reservation to get your name on the list. Then, take the elevator down from Murphy’s Pub or go the more secretive route through the dingy basement hallway for that authentic speakeasy experience.
Knoxville, TN: Peter Kern Library
There’s a sliding door in The Oliver Hotel off of Knoxville’s Market Square — open it, and it leads to Peter Kern Library. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also a back entrance through an unmarked door with a single red light above it. While you don’t have to whisper in this library, this tiny speakeasy is a quiet refuge from Market Square’s hustle and bustle. Drink menus are tucked away in old encyclopedias and all the cocktails are named after characters in novels.
Austin, TX: Midnight Cowboy
Austin’s most beloved speakeasy is hard to get into, but it’s worth it. Head to their website to book a time slot (bigger groups may need to plan several weeks). Once you’re on the books, it’s time to find the joint. Head to what locals call “Dirty” Sixth Street and try to spot the Midnight Cowboy Modeling sign with a red light gleaming above. Next, ring the doorbell marked “Harry Craddock” and be prepared to enjoy one heck of an experience. The place has a certain dark, romantic feel to it and booths run the length of the bar on both sides. Midnight Cowboy runs menus themed annually featuring many libations crafted tableside.
Salt Lake City, UT: The Rest
Walk into the small, street-level bar Bodega and ask an employee to put your name on the list for The Rest, a cool, underground speakeasy accessible via a locked “restroom” door. While you wait, you can grab a drink at Bodega, but the real fun comes when it’s your turn to be seated below. It’s the ultimate hipster’s paradise, sans the pretentiousness. An impressive record collection beckons for guests to choose one and put it in the queue to be played. Order the Beer Can Chicken if you plan to stay awhile (it takes an hour, but it is worth it) and sip on the best drinks in town.
Burlington, VT: Lincolns
Simplicity is key at Lincolns, a hidden, no-frills Burlington tavern that focuses on strong drinks and local brews. The bar has gained popularity through word of mouth, like an authentic speakeasy. Find it by going down the alley across from City Hall and look for the ATM. From there, it’s up to the guest to find the hidden entrance. Owner Chris Beaulieu tells us that Lincolns was built as a hangout for people to converse, and there are no TVs, no WiFi and no loud music to distract from that.
Richmond, VA: Grandstaff & Stein
Grandstaff & Stein is the epitome of a good speakeasy with a bookstore facade, a secret password, and a hidden passageway giving way to intimate, dark digs. You can find the password for the week on their website and once you recite it for the hostess, you’ll be ushered in. The expansive drink menu offers flights of whisky, rum, scotch and tequila, or you could order a classic or signature cocktail. Come hungry — delicious food options from stuffed mushrooms and crab dip to ribeye and scallops round out this Richmond speakeasy’s menu.
Seattle, WA: Bathtub Gin & Co.
Bathtub Gin & Co. is tucked away in a sketchy alley like any good speakeasy. Craft cocktail-seekers look for the wooden door in Gin Alley between 1st and 2nd and knock to enter. Housed in a former hotel boiler room, Bathtub Gin & Co. is the perfect cozy hangout to duck out of the Seattle rain and sip on a gin and tonic. Of course, there is an impressive gin menu, but several non-gin cocktails are available (the Death Star is a favorite with bourbon, fig, maple syrup and lemon juice).
Huntington, WV: The Cellar Door
Whimsical and unique decor, tasty tapas and strong signature cocktails make this a true hidden gem in Huntington. The Cellar Door can be found below Le Bistro’s fine dining restaurant and through an unassuming hallway. This hideaway is a quiet place to unwind and share a small plate or two among friends. Some house favorites include the short ribs and barbecue bacon-wrapped shrimp. They also boast a large selection of wines and bourbons.
Madison, WI: Natt Spil
Even though this spot has been open for nearly 20 years, most people don’t know about Madison’s coolest speakeasy, Natt Spil. This 50-seat bar is located just one block from Wisconsin’s State Capitol, but it’s a bit difficult to find with no signage. Once inside, red Chinese lanterns illuminate the cozy, hobbit-hole-like interior. Guests rave about the food (get the aromatic Three Cup Chicken or any wood-fired pizza) and settle in for good drinks with friends.
Jackson Hole, WY: The Rose
Across the hall from The Pink Garter Theater sits a cocktail lounge that is the perfect spot for a night out after a long day skiing or snowboarding in Jackson Hole. The Rose’s mission is to bring the elevated craft cocktails of NYC and LA to Jackson. Cozy booths and dimly-lit chandeliers add to the speakeasy ambiance while guests enjoy strong cocktails fashioned with the utmost care from house-made ingredients. After a drink or two, check out a show at The Pink Garter Theater, too.