Psst, what’s the password? Step back in time and into the underground world of secret speakeasies for a date night to be remembered.
Beyond just their cool vibe and fantastic drinks, you need to know where to find a good speakeasy – and how to get inside!
Popularized during Prohibition in the United States – and later romanticized after Prohibition ended, Speakeasies actually date back to the late 1800s. Back then, one could visit unlicensed liquor stores or a smuggler’s shop (called a “Speak Softly Shop”) and had to speak quietly inside so as not to be heard by the police. Some original speakeasies are still in operation today, but more than likely you’ll find a newer establishment created in the style of a classic speakeasy.
Once inside, expect to enjoy excellent and creative drinks in swanky digs and possibly even live music and dancing.
Getting into a Speakeasy
Most Speakeasy’s have false or secret entrances, and in rare cases there’s a secret bar hidden within an already secret bar!
Callooh Callay in London, for example, has a secret back bar only accessible from within the already secret Lewis Carol themed bar.
You might enter through a hidden door in the back of a phone booth, through a movable bookcase, or through the back of a wardrobe.
As for the passwords? You’ll find yourself picking up a phone in a graffiti-laden phone booth and speaking to a hostess or trying to talk your way past a large doorman. Just make sure you know the password ahead of time! This will be given to you when you make your reservation (rather modern) or by the friend who tells you about your date night secret speakeasy.
Dress The Part
If you’re heading out to a speakeasy, you’ll want to look the part, too. Think back to 1920s when Prohibition was in full swing… Sleeveless silk, chiffon, light velvet or taffeta dresses with drop waists. For the men… striped three piece suits (single or double breasted) with suspenders, a collar pin, and pocket square.
Heading out to a Speakeasy is a fun excuse to get dressed up if you can, and a great excuse to buy a new/vintage outfit.
Finding a Local Speakeasy
If Speakeasies are so secret, then how do you find a good spot for swanky drinks? For starters, ask around. You can also check:
Alcohol Problems and Solutions has a list of US Speakeasy’s by state/city.
Yelp also lists Speakeasy Bars near you.