Prohibition may be long gone but the appeal of uber-hip secret bars will never die.
Call us snobby, but there’s just something exhilarating about being in the know, you know? Nothing takes the night up a notch like discovering the trendiest bar in town behind an unmarked door.
If you love traveling and cocktails as much as we do, add these world-class speakeasies to your bucket list:
001 is a true Hong Kong legend that’s been luring whiskey fanatics to its nondescript black door for years. Tucked between two stalls in the Graham Street Market, the only hint that you’ve found the entrance is the old-fashioned brass doorbell lit by a dim spotlight. While you could take your chances and simply ring to be let in, we recommend reserving a spot in advance—001’s popularity and limited seating mean you might not get in without a reservation.
The vibe inside is old-school speakeasy through and through, with green leather armchairs, soft jazz, moody lighting, and a strict dress code. The no-standing policy and impeccable service give the bar an exclusive members-only feel, which is dialed up to 11 the minute a bartender slides the perfect Old Fashioned into your hand.
NOTE: No website for this hidden gem—call 852-2810-6969 to book a reservation.
LE 4E MUR
Of all the speakeasies on this list, Le 4e Mur is the one that clings the tightest to its air of mystery. You won’t find its address listed on Google—instead, you’ll have to enter your email on the bar’s website and wait for instructions (or ask someone in the know).
Once you’ve located the fake detective agency door and puzzled your way through the brick wall behind it (we’ve already said too much! 🤭), you’ll pop out in a chic underground bar decorated with Prohibition-era flair—exposed stone, wood paneling, luxe wallpaper, and backlit shelves featuring an impressive array of spirits. Take a seat under a cluster of dangling glass-decanter lanterns and settle in for some truly exceptional cocktails. Pro-tip: Visit on a Tuesday or Saturday to catch a burlesque show or on Thursday for live jazz.
Seoul, South Korea
Terry Kim’s fantastically eclectic speakeasy is basically Alice in Wonderland minus the hookah-smoking Caterpillar and with a whole lot more bottles labeled “Drink Me.”
Hidden inside a flower shop in the posh Cheongdam district of Seoul (look for the white rabbit sign above the door), Alice is the place to go for a whimsical night on the town. Cozy up on the cushy sofas and watch as the bartenders work their magic with vanishing glasses, colorful foam, and liquid nitrogen.
Drinks and snacks here stay true to the wacky theme, so if you’ve ever wanted to sip a cocktail through an elephant’s trunk or try some Battenburg cake fruit salad, you’ll be right at home here. (Just make sure you start looking for the bathroom before you really need to go, ‘cause the door is—of course—camouflaged.)
Mexico City, Mexico
This bar is swank AF. There’s no other way to describe it. Think Bond-villain-lair-meets-modernist-gothic-hideout mellowed out with a splash of jazz. We’re talking plenty of monochrome, textured ceilings, angular metal chairs, and giant skulls under the tables.
This is the place to go when you’re feeling bougie in Mexico City—strap on your most outrageous set of heels, slick back your hair, and look for the industrial cooler door in the back of the taco restaurant at Julio Verne 93. For a dose of modern Mexican flavor, order the Low Key, a mezcal cocktail that features vermouth, crème de cacao, lemon juice, mole bitters, and absinthe.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
One of the first (and arguably best) speakeasies in Argentina’s capital, Florería Atlántico is a modern bar with historic roots. The founders drew inspiration from the nearby docks and the immigrants who landed there over the centuries, transforming the nature of Buenos Aires’ bar scene—the Brits and the French, Spaniards and Italians, Germans and Poles.
Tucked away beneath a quaint flower-and-wine shop, the vibe here is cozy subterranean charm with a chic Latin twist. Intimate little tables run the length of the long bar, bathed in warm yellow light, and the walls are decorated with murals of sea monsters.
With master mixologist Renato Giovannoni at the helm, expect the drinks to be as creative as they are delicious. Try the bar’s signature Negroni Balestrini for an ingenious blend of global flavors—Amaro Averna and Giovannoni’s very own Argentinian gin, Príncipe de los Apóstoles, with a hint of pine nut and eucalyptus.
Le Syndicat doesn’t consider itself a speakeasy or even a bar, describing itself instead as an “Organization in Defense of French Spirits,” and if that isn’t the epitome of offbeat Parisian cool then we don’t know what is.
No trendy storefront to be found here—the entrance to Le Syndicat is camouflaged in decrepit, peeling posters plastered an inch thick over the outer wall. Locate the door, nod to the bouncer, and head inside to find a space that can only be described as “gritty-glam.” Kitschy gold curtains warm up the industrial vibe of the concrete-and-pegboard bar and the bartenders mix up new takes on old classics to the sound of hip-hop beats.
The drink menu is a celebration of all things French (you won’t find any foreign imports here) and one sip will show you why Le Syndicat draws a crowd night after night.
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