Discover the world’s top hidden watering holes
A bucket list of speakeasies from around the globe
Blind pig, blind tiger, hidden bar. Known by many names, the speakeasy has come a long way since its inception in the ’20s when the United States entered its infamous Prohibition Era.
From 1920 to 1933, the trade of spirits was declared illegal across the US, triggering an unquenchable thirst for moonshine and “bathtub” gin that were usually served in watering holes kept secret with passwords and nondescript—if not misleading—entrances.
Although the idea of concealment still remains, today’s speakeasies take on a more cosmopolitan appeal, adding to the mix chic interiors, a wide array of designer drinks, and, in some cases, an online presence that is as vague as it is intriguing.
One thing hasn’t changed though: In these haunts, guests can sit back, enjoy a few drinks, and, well, speak easy.
PDT, New York
Please Don’t Tell, more commonly known as PDT, topped Drinks International’s World’s Best 50 Bars list in 2011. A vintage phone booth inside the East Village hotdog joint Crif Dogs serves as the low-key bar’s entry point.
113 St. Marks, New York, NY 10009.
28 HongKong Street, Singapore
28 HongKong Street is perhaps Singapore’s most popular speakeasy. Crowned the best bar in Asia by Drinks International, the New York-esque establishment masquerades as an old shop house.
28 Hong Kong St., Singapore 059667.
The Butcher, Amsterdam
The Butcher is actually a gourmet burger bar in the popular Albert Cuyp Market. A back door leads to an inner sanctum that serves creative cocktails such as The Butcher’s Nana and the Spicy Crusta. Reservations are recommended to get in.
Albert Cuypstraat 129, 1072 CS Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Evans and Peel Detective Agency, London, United Kingdom
Evans and Peel Detective Agency is one speakeasy that takes its cover seriously. Reservations are made by submitting a case to the agency, which a “detective” will look into upon the guest’s arrival. Once the interrogation ends, the real fun begins.
310c Earls Ct Rd, Earls Court, London SW5 9BA, UK.
The Jerry Thomas Project, Rome, Italy
They say getting into the Jerry Thomas Project isn’t easy. Only those who are able to supply the password gain entry, and the only way to know the magic word—or words—is by making a reservation. Once in, patrons find it difficult to leave thanks to the bar’s signature drinks. Try the El Cocuy Ancestral, which has coconut yogurt, or the Absinthe Frappé.
Bicolor Cellini, 30, 00186 Rome, Italy.
Floreria Atlantico, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Having made it on the World’s 50 Best Bars list twice, Floreria Atlantico is the only “flower shop” that tends to customers until the wee hours of the morning. A must-try is owner Renato “Tato” Giovannoni’s homemade gin, which is distilled with maté yerba and eucalyptus.
Arroyo 872, C1011 CABA, Argentina.
Ounce, Taipei, Taiwan
Ounce definitely ticks off the checklist for a blind pig: hidden behind a secret door, laid-back, and overflowing with great cocktails. It’s located inside a no-frills coffee shop and is known as one of Taiwan’s best bars.
No. 40, Lane 63, Section 2, Dunhua South Road, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106.
The Barber Shop, Sydney, Australia
With its steady clientele, solid concept, and English-inspired drinks menu, The Barber Shop rightfully earned its spot at the 2014 Australian Liquor Industry Awards. The bar is located behind an unmarked doorway inside an authentic barber shop, where expert barbers offer their services.
89 York St., Sydney NSW 2000, Australia.
Moonshiner, Paris, France
In true speakeasy fashion, Moonshiner is hidden behind the metal door of a walk-in fridge found in the restaurant Pizza Da Vito. Once inside, a cozy drinking den reveals itself, complete with an elegant fumoir or smoking room.
5 Rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris, France.
Foxglove, Hong Kong
Foxglove, according to CNN, is the “world’s best bar to find yourself in during a rainstorm.” Conceptualized by NC Design and Architecture, the space is tucked away behind an umbrella shop on Ice House Street.
G/F 18 Ice House St. / 2/F Printing House, 6 Duddell St., Central, Hong Kong.