Speakeasy bars are relics of the past. Where many of the city's elites went to mingle and have a drink at these sort of places. They essentially hosted social clubs. Modern speakeasies are beginning to spread. People seek places in which like-minded individuals can gather but in a more sophisticated ambiance. Less is more, anyway. Here are 5 Speakeasy bars you should visit when in New York.
Manhattan Cricket Club
The Manhattan Cricket Club, founded in 2013, is an ode to the colonial gentleman’s clubs that were popular throughout the British Empire at the turn of the 1800's. Membership to these clubs provided social and economic growth as well as networking opportunities for the elite.
At The Manhattan Cricket Club, members and guests are shown some of the finest selections of boutique champagnes and wines. Cocktails are curated by world renowned mixologist, Greg Seider. One can also expect discussions of the sport of Cricket, naturally.
The club actually went into renovations in order to bring back its original layout and aesthetic. We love the The Manhattan Cricket Club because it is an intimate atmosphere where guests and members can have a special place to have a drink an enjoy their evenings. As the club may suggest: "A love for the game of cricket is encouraged but not essential... a love for cocktails, however, is."
The Carnegie Club
The Carnegie Club is one of the most exclusive lounges in New York City. One of the few places in NYC where smoking is allowed indoors, one can enjoy a fine cigar and single malt scotch. The club provides a classic and sophisticated backdrop of handcarved 18th century bookcases filled with a wide assortment of leather-bound titles and a stone fireplace. The ambiance is as classy as the decor. You are sure to find yourself in here for hours with friends discussing life or business.
Steve Maglio and the Stan Rubin 11-Piece Orchestra perform Frank Sinatra songs every Saturday night at 8pm and 10:30pm. We highly suggest that you go and see the show. Be sure to make a reservation and know the cigar and drinks minimum for the show. Read our article on The Carnegie Club for our recommendations.
Employees Only is one of New York City’s most famous speakeasys. Opened in 2004, the restaurant and bar is easily one of the most beautiful places to enjoy a meal and a drink. Talent is abundant amongst the bartenders. One can expect world class service. Employees Only has gained a strong loyal following for their approach of staying rather mysterious. New American fare, distinguished by subtle Eastern European touches pay homage to executive chef Julia Jaksic’s Croatian heritage.
Decorated with many awards over the years, Employees Only has been honored with Spirited Awards for “Best American Bar Team,” “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” and “World’s Best Drinks Selection” by Tales of the Cocktail, as well as the #4 spot on Drinks International’s “World’s 50 Best Bars” list in 2015. Employees Only is not only an essential place to go, it is a rite of passage. Read our Employees Only for more info.
The Back Room
The Back Room is one of only two speakeasies in New York City that operated during Prohibition and is still in existence today. It is a timeless example of the underbelly of New York's past. Entering the bar is like going back in time to a much glamorous time.
The original 1920’s speakeasy, known simply as “The Back of Ratner’s,” played host to many theater and movie actors of the “Roaring Twenties,” as well as famous gangsters of the era. These gangsters included Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. They were known to use the space for “business meetings.” For lovers of Gangster movies, one can only imagine Vito Corleone making a few deals here. For more info, read our article on The Back Room.
The Raines Law Room
The Raines Law Room in Chelsea is named for an 1896 law meant to curb New Yorkers’ liquor consumption. Past a door buzzer and a discerning host is the windowless space, which just about nails a sumptuous twenties vibe. This very non-chalant place will soon have you speaking about how amazing this bar is. The aesthetics of this bar can definitely have you imagining Edgar Allan Poe writing "The Raven."
The cocktail list is offers very interesting cocktails such as the Garden Paloma (tequila, jalapeño agave, Perrier, grapefruit and a pinch of salt). Arrive early to land one of the private tables surrounded by velvet couches and black gauze curtains. These tabes are equipped with a wall buzzer to call your waitress.