10 Best Speakeasies and Hidden Restaurants in New York City

New York City bar

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In travel, as in life, there are few things more satisfying than being let in on a good secret, especially one that grants you access to a hidden gem. And in New York City—"the city that never sleeps"—some of the best speakeasies and culinary treasures are buried deep in the hippest neighborhoods. From mixologist meccas located in the counterculture-rich East Village to cozy eateries situated among the tourist traps of Midtown, we've got the inside scoop for any visitor looking to hit the town. Still, in order to access an unforgettable night out, you'll need to put down your phone and pay attention to the concealed entrances and unmarked doors. No secret handshakes needed.

01 of 10

Angel's Share

New York City nightclub

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8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone +1 212-777-5415

This longstanding NYC speakeasy certainly has staying power, holed up at its classy East Village location since the mid-90s. Once inside, expect a cozy atmosphere and some expertly crafted cocktails. But don't come with a big group—access is limited to parties of four or less. This little dive makes a perfect date spot, thanks to the bar's views over Stuyvesant Square and the tuxedo-outfitted bartenders.

  • Tip: Angel's Share opened another secret space a few doors down, at 14 Stuyvesant Street, to help handle the overflow.
  • Location: This bar is located at 8 Stuyvesant St., between Second and Third Avenues, in the East Village. Look for the entrance behind an unmarked door inside the Japanese restaurant named Village Yokcho.
02 of 10


Men at a bar

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134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002, USA

A spinoff of the famed mixologist mecca Milk & Honey, this tiny bar is located in an industrial-style Lower East Side spot. The bartending vets behind the operation can predictably turn out killer cocktail concoctions. And, come with an open mind. This joint has no set menu, so you'll be subject to the whims of the suspender-clad men and women behind the bar, who will customize a drink du jour based on your boozy preference.

  • Tip: The drinks can be spendy, so come with a full wallet and tip well. (They are worth it!)
  • Location: This spot sits at 134 Eldridge St., between Eldridge and Allen Streets, on the Lower East Side. Knock or ring the buzzer to gain access.
03 of 10

The Back Room

Toasting in front of a fire

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102 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Phone +1 212-228-5098

While the many hidden bars of New York City like to market their speakeasy vibe, the Back Room actually claims this fame, as the establishment legitimately served booze during the 1920s. Back in the Prohibition days, this joint was frequented by gangsters like Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano, and Meyer Lansky. The charming old-time decor transports you back, with velvet sofas, golden accents, and a fireplace. True to speakeasy form, cocktails are served in teacups and bottled beers in paper bags.

  • Tip: The dress code here is casual but neat. They do not allow baseball hats, ripped jeans, team jerseys, white undershirts, or real fur coats or accessories.
  • Location: The Back Room can be found at 102 Norfolk St., between Delancey and Rivington Streets, on the Lower East Side. Look for a street-side sign for the Lower East Side Toy Company, and then go through the metal gate and down the stairs to the speakeasy's door on the other side of the alleyway.
04 of 10

Beauty & Essex

Guitar on brick wall

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146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Phone +1 212-614-0146

In-the-know trendsetters flock to this Lower East Side eatery, tucked away behind a pawn shop facade (which is stocked with an interesting collection of vintage jewelry, art, and musical instruments for sale). Once through, patrons encounter a grand restaurant entrance, complete with a two-story chandelier and a circular staircase. Beauty & Essex's four dining rooms, two bars, and a lounge area offer up a vibrant wine-and-dine scene. Order up New American small plates with gluten-free and vegan options, as well.

  • Tip: Take some time to check out the space's details, like the items in the pawnshop, the bar cart in the bathroom, and, of course, the magnificent chandelier.
  • Location: Beauty & Essex is located at 146 Essex St., between Rivington and Stanton Streets, on the Lower East Side. You'll only see the pawnshop storefront, but the name of the restaurant is posted on the sign just above it.
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05 of 10


Dinnertable restaurant

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206 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009-3405, USA

A tiny eatery called Dinnertable sits just beyond a doorbell entrance located within a polished watering hole, The Garret. Dinnertable serves quality Italian-American fare set around a communal table amid soft lighting. Guests at this intimate venue will dine on main courses like charred stripe bass and braised short ribs. Here, you can watch the talented chefs cook right in front of you, making the experience that much more inclusive.

  • Tip: Due to the communal atmosphere of this restaurant, and the fact that they hold space for walk-ins, Dinnertable does not accept more than four per party.
  • Location: Dinnertable sits at 206 Ave., between East 12th and East 13th Streets, in the East Village. Push the doorbell at the entrance found within The Garret bar. (You might have to ask someone in the bar where it's located.)
06 of 10

Lantern's Keep

Bartender at bar

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49 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, USA
Phone +1 212-453-4287

Set in an inconspicuous location off the lobby of Midtown's historic Iroquois Hotel, this small, elegant oasis invites guests into a 1920s Parisian-style lounge. The dark wood paneling, velvet seats, Impressionist paintings, marbled tables, and candelabras set the mood for the vintage Prohibition-period cocktails served here. Bow-tied bartenders are eager to offer up light bites from the neighboring Triomphe kitchen, alongside their creations.

  • Tip: Lantern's Keep does not accept reservations; tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Location: This hidden bar resides at 49 West 44th St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in Midtown Manhattan. There's no sign for the bar, but when the lantern affixed to the hotel facade is lit, the bar is open.
07 of 10


PDT (Please Don't Tell) NYC

PDT (Please Don't Tell)

113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009, USA

PDT, an acronym for the bar's full name "Please Don't Tell," is no stranger to New York City's "best of" bar list. Little wonder, as this bar was founded by bartending icon Jim Meehan and once won the James Beard award for the best bar program. Indeed, quality cocktails are the name of the game in this small, taxidermy-strewn hideaway. That is ... if you can find it. The entrance is located within a vintage phone booth inside a hot dog joint called Crif Dogs. (Hot dogs are on the menu inside, too, if you're craving one after the wait to get in.)

  • Tip: The walls decorated in taxidermy might be off-putting to animal lovers,
  • Location: Find PDT at 113 St. Marks Place, between First Avenue and Avenue A, in the East Village. Enter the phone booth at Crif Dogs and pick up the receiver to get an estimated wait time. If you're very lucky, immediate entrance can be accessed via the back wall of the booth. 
08 of 10

Raines Law Room

Old books on a table

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48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011, USA

Run by cocktail maven Meaghan Dorman, Raines Law Room in Chelsea offers a sophisticated, old-fashioned 1920s speakeasy vibe that's worth seeking out. Named for a late 19th-century law aimed to curb liquor consumption in New York, Raines offers classic cocktails with a Jazz Age vibe in a subterranean space, complete with tin ceilings and plush velvet seating. Each of the curtain-enclosed tables comes with a buzzer to conveniently call in your server for the next round.

  • Tip: This bar has a sister location in the William Hotel in Midtown, though most fans claim loyalty to the original Chelsea incarnation. 
  • Location: Raines Law Room is located at 48 West 17th St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in Chelsea. Go down the unmarked stairwell and press the door buzzer for entry.
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09 of 10


Sake tasting

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211 43rd St B1, New York, NY 10017, USA
Phone +1 212-953-7253

Tucked inside a high-rise office building in Midtown sits Sakagura (Japanese for “hidden jewel”), a Japanese-style eatery and one of the best sake bars in the United States. Donned in wood paneling, with traditional Japanese screens and plants, this restaurant hosts diners at intimate booths and tables. Should you need an after-work drink, saddle up to the bar and ask for their color-coded menu of over 200 premium sakes.

  • Tip: You can visit Sakagura's East Village location for Happy Hour specials, as none are offered at this secret office building locale.
  • Location: Sakagura is located at 211 43rd St. B1 in Midtown East. Enter the building and let the concierge know you are there to dine. Then, continue down the corridor, with paintings on the wall, until you get to an emergency exit with a sign written in Japanese. Go down the stairs to the restaurant.
10 of 10


Grafitti on wall

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57 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012, USA

Another Japanese-inspired haunt, this ultra-exclusive secret restaurant that opened in 2009 requires the mention of someone you know who's dined here before in order to get reservations. Once inside, you'll enjoy untraditional Asian-fusion dishes like teriyaki burgers, uni croquettes, short rib sashimi, and a soup-like mac & cheese. The restaurant is known for its Japanese Wagu beef, which comes from the Japan Premium Beef butcher store down the street.

  • Tip: The restaurant does not list its phone number publicly, so you'll have to ask your friends or put up a Facebook post to get around the “no entry without an introduction” policy.
  • Location: Bohemian is located at 57 Great Jones St. in NoHo, but don't try to walk in without a legit reservation.
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10 Best Speakeasies and Hidden Restaurants in New York City