Get Your Gatsby On In These NYC Speakeasies

Besides women gaining the right to vote, Amelia Earhart flying across the Atlantic, and of course Mickey Mouse, what else comes to mind when thinking of those exuberant '20s? Though Gatsby may be your next guess, how about what really made them roar: prohibition. An era when alcohol was banned, and illegal spirits outlets rose to the top of the party scene. Covert nightclubs, known as speakeasies, really put the bees back in the knees of the Jazz Age.

Even though it's been about a century since prohibition, there are still some spots in NYC that aren't letting that swanky and secretive era go. So, are you interested in knowing which unmarked doors to knock on or which back allies to go down? Keep reading for the top speakeasies in the toddling town of NYC.

The Last Word
If you're looking for a speakeasy in Astoria, look no further; The Last Word is all parts swanky, sophisticated, and fun — from digs, to snacks, and sips. Stop by for a secretive late night rendezvous, or pop in early for the $10 cocktail and $2 oyster happy hour.

The Last Word, 31-30 Ditmars Boulevard (at 33rd Street); 718-440-3378.
Fig. 19
Can't decide between viewing art or visiting a speakeasy for your next NYC weekend adventure? Fig. 19 has both those bases covered — and all at the same swanky, downtown location. Stop in to mosey your way through the photo-lined gallery, and once at the back you'll find an unmarked (nearly camouflaged) door that leads into swanky drink central. Order up the signature Vanishing Point cocktail (made with vanilla bean and cinnamon-infused gin, lemon juice, agave, egg whites, and sea salt), sit back, sip, and stay awhile.

Fig. 19, 131 Chrystie Street (at Kenmare Street).
Slowly Shirley
Beneath one of the West Village's more bustling drink hotspots, The Happiest Hour, lies Slowly Shirley — a swanky and near-secretive speakeasy offering up tiki bar-themed sips. Descend a set of stairs, located off to the side and illuminated by a rouge sign, to the sliding door-concealed room. Once inside, be prepared for nighttime island vibes, shimmering decor, and an onslaught of festive cocktail creations (e.g., The Monkey Man and Chinatown Daiquiri).

Slowly Shirley, 121 W 10th Street (between 6th and Greenwich Avenues); 212-243-2827.
Photo: Courtesy of The Ship.
The Ship
If you've never been to or heard of The Ship, chances are you won't be stumbling upon it anytime soon. The entrance way to this industrial-nautical spot is tucked anonymously between a slew of shops and set back into a brick wall. (Tip: Look for the waving flag above!) Once inside, a long dark hallway ushers you down towards a wooden staircase that leads into the belly of the ship (yes, pun intended). With what appears to be large submarine snorkels peppering the sealing and rounded booths lined with repurposed sails, the overall sensation is deeply under-the-sea. Order the citric ceviche with red onion, fluke, cilantro, and leche de tigre with a "The Fox" tequila cocktail on a rock. Bon voyage.

The Ship, 158 Lafayette Street (between Grand and Howard Street); 212-219-8496.
Photo: Via @indefinitelys.
The Back Room
Looking for an excuse to lurk in a LES back alley? Look no further than The Back Room. Because it is literally located in a back alley. Dodgy entrance aside, the interior of this speakeasy spot is rich in gilded designs and buzzy booze. Ideal for those true history buffs out there — because according to the website, it is one of the only speakeasies left in NYC that was first opened during the Prohibition era.

The Back Room, 102 Norfolk Street (between Rivington and Delancey Street); 212-228-5098.
Photo: Via @goodstyleisgolden.
Bar Centrale
Tucked into a corner of Times Square lies Bar Centrale — although we wouldn't hardly know it...The clandestine speakeasy exists within a non-distinct brownstone (on a non-distinct brownstone lined street). The buzzy bar inside is refuge for many a Broadway star, so be sure to show up before the curtain drops and grab a stool (oh, and a martini or two).

Bar Centrale, 324 W. 46th Street (at 8th Avenue); 212-581-3130.
Photo: Via @stevenshotme.
The Wooly
The Wooly has all the makings of a Wes Anderson film: Hip baristas serving caffeinated brews in mammoth-adorned paper cups. The setting is small, sparse, and a conspicuous interior door lurks off to the side. The catch? This cool coffee shop by day turns into a secret swanky back-bar by night — and the lounge's eclectic interior could be the living room of any one of Anderson's wacky characters. So get ready to sip your craft cocktails in scene-style.

The Wooly, 11 Barclay Street (at Broadway); 646-807-9665.
Photo: Courtesy of @1ronnaporn.
Please Don't Tell
Somebody told...And the entrance is connected to one of our NYC cheap eats favorites, Crif Dogs. To get inside PDT, you just waltz on through the hotdog house's phone booth (yes, really). Once inside, behold the sleek and secret speakeasy in all its glory — a bar complete with taxidermied animal heads and unconventional cocktails.

Please Don't Tell, 113 Street Marks Place (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A); 212- 614-0386.
Photo: Courtesy of Lori Lou.
Angel's Share
An NYC speakeasy with serious Japanese flair. Angel's Share is clandestinely tucked within East Village's Village Yokocho restaurant. The scene is darkly decadent and so are the offerings. Saunter up to the bar and order the "Corpse Reviver #2" or a round of the "Moon At Noon" cocktails.

Angel's Share, 8 Stuyvesant Street (at East 9th Street); 212-777-5415.
Photo: Via @employeesonlyny.
Employees Only
Recognizable by their sharp emblem, Employees Only started the secretive bar stir on NYC's streets. With a sleek mahogany interior and creative cocktails whipped up by white coat-clad tenders, the name does not do the space justice. All non-employees are welcome (and encouraged) to enter and order up.

Employees Only, 510 Hudson Street (between Christopher and West 10th Street); 212-242-3021.
Photo: Via @raineslawroom
Raines Law Room
Having a drink at Raines feels like having a drink in a 1920s law library. Entrance is admitted through the ringing of a doorbell — seriously — and then guests are led into a dark and luxuriously-lit room where old jazz music plays and craft cocktails pour. Take your seat on one of the plush sofas, grab a book off one of the shelves, sip a Regal Pompadour, and enjoy.

Raines Law Room, 48 West 17th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues); 646-922-8600.
Photo: Via @carolynordonez.
Attaboy
Behind an unmarked door on Eldridge Street lies a spacious, though dimly lit, room with wooden barstools and booths. A 21st century speakeasy, Attaboy brings us back to the darkly sparkling prohibition era.

There are no menus, so bartenders must think on their feet, and the receipts are written by hand — so the element of surprise is endless, and living on the edge is required.

Attaboy, 134 Eldridge Street (between Delancey and Broome streets).
Photo: Via @leboudoirbrooklyn.
Le Boudoir
Modeled after Marie Antoinette's private chambers, Le Boudoir is the perfect NYC cocktail "chateau" to luxuriate in. Although you aren't entering through a secret passageway in Versailles. Instead, patrons pass through another French haunt in BK known as Chez Moi. No flight expense necessary (maybe just a MetroCard).

Le Bourdoir, 135 Atlantic Avenue (at Henry Street); 347- 227-8337.
Photo: Via @timmckee.
Little Branch
An intimate underground space that has the feel of a true 1920s speakeasy. After entering the darkly lit room filled with bowtie and suspender clad bartenders, you may just feel as if you've taken a trip back in time to Gatsby's golden age.

Offering fantastic customizable drinks, this secret spot is a great place to end a long night out or to enjoy a nice private date. The live music is also a nice touch, especially if you're in the mood for your moonshine with a side of entertainment.

Little Branch, 22 Seventh Avenue (at Leroy Street); 212-929-4360.
Photo: Via @a_room_of_ones_own.
Dear Irving
A historically magical space that is separated into different thematic quarters (i.e. famous figures and eras), Dear Irving will teach you a lesson or two. With the same owners as Raines Law Room (another favorite) the drinks are exceptional. Try the Sherry Cobbler or Espresso Martini, and a smooth Jamaican rum situation called "Three Little Birds."

Dear Irving, 55 Irving Place (between E. 17th and E. 18th streets); 212-929-4360.
Photo: Via @bathtubginnyc.
Bathtub Gin
Self-proclaimed as a "Modern Speakeasy," this joint takes on the '20s with a real life rendition of bathtub gin (i.e. any homemade spirit, not prepared by a distillery). So what did this non-traditional NYC spot do? Made its own gin and offer actual bathtubs to sit in while sipping it.

Bathtub Gin, 132 9th Avenue (at 18th Street); 646-559-1671.