The Best Speakeasies Hidden Inside Hotels
The next time you check into a hotel, you may want to peer behind a bookcase or ask the front desk for a password. Some of the most unique speakeasies are hiding out in hotels.
Slurp oysters, sip cocktails, and listen to the bartender’s tall tales about Benjamin Cooper, a fictional character and the bar’s namesake. This artisan cocktail den hidden in San Francisco’s Hotel G has gone so far to invent a fictional and adventurous backstory for Cooper—one that involves gambling, love, and a rowdy anti-Prohibition protest. The craft cocktails, which call in everything from green tomatoes to beets, are just as inventive as the bar’s narrative. Take a peek inside the world’s most expensive hotel room.
The Wilbur Craft Cocktail and Wine Bar
Join Al Capone (or his likeness, at least) for a drink in this speakeasy-style bar in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Inside The Roost Boutique Hotel, there’s a secret room behind a bookshelf where you’ll find a mural of Capone, who had a residence in the area during Prohibition. The Wilbur Craft Cocktail and Wine Bar makes use of salvaged wood from the original hotel and serves up rum flights featuring specialty rums from Guatemala, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic. Intrigued by secret rooms? Check out 13 hidden rooms you’ll wish you found in your home.
The Milk Room
By day, the Milk Room is a quick-service coffee and pastry café serving locals and hotel guests at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. By night, it’s an exclusive and intimate eight-seat bar that serves vintage liquors. Once a bottle is gone, it’s gone forever. You, the esteemed guest, will be “drinking a little bit of history,” says Paul McGee, beverage director.
In its past life in the 1930s, the P.S. Speakeasy was the mail room for Hotel Phillips in Kansas City, Missouri. Back in the day, there were underground tunnels connecting the hotel to other buildings in downtown that mobsters used to transport alcohol during prohibition. Guests won’t be able to see or crawl through the tunnels today, unfortunately, but you can sneak off to the hidden speakeasy. Inquire with the front desk for information about the hidden entrance or ask around with staff members. Once you’re through the door, it will be hard to miss your cocktail concierge Sam Cable, who stands an impressive seven feet tall. When traveling to less prestigious hotels, bring your own necessities. These amenities aren’t always available to you.
Outside of Hotel Adeline in Scottsdale, Arizona, there’s a big, bold light-up sign that says “WTF, Where’s The Fun?” We’ll give you a hint! Head towards the check-in desk, hook a right, then proceed down the hallway. You’ll need to do a little sleuthing to secure a password to gain entry to this “secret-ish” bar. (Hint: Checking the hotel’s social media channels or ask at the front desk.) Once you’ve secured the password, dial up the bartender from the vintage phone, whisper it, then you’ll be granted entry into the bar, Straight Up. Don’t miss these 17 retro-inspired hotels in America.
Located steps from the French Quarter, Public Belt inside the Hilton New Orleans Riverside has a proposition for you. The “Dealer’s Choice” menu allows guests to take a gamble at creating a customized cocktail. You get to select a base spirit, tell the bartender about your favorite flavors, then sit back and let the bartenders create a customized bespoke cocktail. The nod to gambling is a subtle tribute to Harrah’s Casino, which is across the street. This second-floor cocktail lounge often features live jazz music from Joe Krown, an influential pianist in the NOLA music scene.
The Redwood Room inside San Francisco’s The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel is said to be paneled with the wood from a single giant redwood tree. The bar opened on December 6, 1933, the day after Prohibition was repealed and has been serving signature cocktails to the glitterati ever since. Oh, and the cocktails are truly buzz-worthy—some are made with honey from the hotel’s rooftop bee sanctuary.
Speakeasy inside The Hoxton
The basement bar inside The Hoxton in Portland, Oregon is so discreet that it doesn’t even have a name. But—psst—you can access it from an entrance off of 5th Avenue. Look for a sign reading “knock, knock, knock” that’s displayed on the door. If you’re wondering “who’s there?” the answer is inventive chefs and bartenders who are crafting some delicious Chinese-American delicacies and cocktails.
Speakeasies: They aren’t just bars. Proving our point is Secret Pizza, a pizza joint hidden on the third floor of The Cosmopolitan, a luxe Las Vegas hotel. This slice of heaven (see what we did there?) is so under-the-radar that it’s not even listed on the resort’s website. To find it, look for an unmarked hallway that’s lined with vinyl album covers. The hidden pizza shop stays open until 4 a.m.
Time travel back to the 1920s at this Pittsburgh speakeasy tucked beneath the stairs of the Omni William Penn Hotel where The Speakeasy was once used as storage space. It got a glam makeover and reopened in December 2012, on the 79th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. Here, you can imbibe absinthe and Old Fashioned cocktails, as well as other spirits with classic roots.
Bourbon & Banter
Housed in what was once the historic Dallas hotel’s beauty salon, Bourbon & Banter is now an underground lounge and bourbon library at The Statler Dallas. Beverage Director Kyle Hilla has crafted cocktails named after popular old-fashioned hairstyles, like the Bouffant, French Twist, and Pompadour. The Buzz Cut, for example, is a bourbon cocktail that’s served in a coupe with a small dropper bottle of absinthe on the side. Drop the absinthe on your tongue before each sip. Find out the 13 strangest liquor laws in America.
Pin + Proof
You’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot a back alley neon sign. In addition to cocktails and light bites, Pin + Proof at Omni Louisville Hotel in Kentucky has a special surprise for its speakeasy guests: The handsome bygone-era bar features four professional bowling lanes so you can try your hand at tenpins while sipping on your mint juleps or Manhattans.
The Spare Room
A Prohibition-era style cocktail lounge and bowling alley, The Spare Room is a hidden gem inside the historic Hollywood Roosevelt in Hollywood, California. In addition to two vintage bowling lanes, there are custom-made board games to keep you entertained while you sip in secret. The expansive drink menu runs the gamut from a Salt and Vinegar Martini to a sweet ice cream flavored drink.
The Rabbit Hole
Guests begin the journey down The Rabbit Hole once they find the velvet-draped room that’s hidden behind a bookcase at Nashville’s Kimpton Aertson Hotel. During the whimsical dining experience, executive chef Daniel Gorman leads VIPs through a 14-course tasting menu.
To gain access to The Linehouse, you’ll need to be a guest at The Lodge at Spruce Peak in Stowe, Vermont and secure an invitation. The effort is worth it; instead of a drink menu, bartenders chat with the guests, get a feel for their tastes and preferences, then create a customized cocktail. Glassware is from local antique stores and the basement bar with natural wood and leather furniture channels a rustic, but elegant, Vermont vibe.
The Office NYC
An “extinction” collection of rare spirits can be found at The Office NYC, a speakeasy-style gem inside the Mandarin Oriental, New York. A hidden passageway delivers guests to the speakeasy, and the unique drink menu just may include a mid-20th century Johnny Walker whiskey.
Not only is this 27th-floor bar in the W Minneapolis – The Foshay a swanky-cool speakeasy, but it also doubles as a great urban observatory. That’s because guests at the Prohibition Bar can take in 360-degree views of downtown Minneapolis while sipping cocktails in a bar decked out with Art Deco decor. Next, read on to find out about the most historical hotel in every state.