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3 Seductive Secrets of the Speakeasy

3 Seductive Secrets of the Speakeasy

Why are these covert night spots so much fun? Read on to crack the code…

From London to Honolulu to Atlanta, it seems bar patrons around the world can’t get enough of speakeasies – concealed underground establishments that originally popped up during Prohibition in the 1920s. Operators usually required patrons to whisper the name of the person who sent them before allowing access to buy banned spirits.

Now that alcohol is legal again – and has been for 90 years, why are so many speakeasies popping up again? What’s so great about these hidden hangouts?

The allure might lie in their exclusivity, since speakeasies are not easily accessible (or advertised). Or maybe it’s their complicated cocktails that impress guests’ demanding palettes. It could also be the swanky decor and themed atmosphere that makes them the ultimate escape.

Either way, the secret is out: Speakeasies are back, and they’re more popular than ever.

Read below to discover the inside scoop on three extraordinary speakeasies that take this blast-from-the-past guest experience to another level. For obvious purposes, names and locations are kept under wraps…

The bar behind the ax-throwing liquor store

To be clear, this secret bar is behind a recreational facility and a liquor store – the ax throwing is safely contained in its own space. Both places, however, share one building, along with their sister speakeasy. In order to enter, you must have a reservation and enter the passcode you receive in a keypad attached to a vaulted door in the back of the store.

Once you enter, a liquor store employee quickly shuts the door behind you without any further instructions. You’re engulfed in darkness, which adds to the fun. Eventually, guests figure out they must follow a long service hallway to get to another door, which has a long metal hand-shaped door knob.

The once dismissive liquor store employee magically appears to greet you on the other side and escort you to a table. Friendly, professional servers make you something on the extensive menu, or whatever else you can dream of, and are attentive to every need as you enjoy the food and drinks of your dreams. It’s the perfect marriage of mixology and magic.

The club above the shut-down brewery

This nightclub used to have only one very hidden entrance inside the brewery underneath it. Once that brewery closed its doors permanently, the bar above unlocked a main street entrance. It keeps signage to a minimum, so it’s still a little tricky to find. A narrow stairwell brings you to the second floor where the interior instantly transforms into another era.

The decor ranges from mirrors to leather to an elaborate built-in bar boasting top-of-the-line bottles. In fact, the bar area is so beautiful and elaborate it has a rolling ladder that allows bartenders to climb for whatever they need, all the way up to the top of their 20+ foot ceiling.

Every nook and cranny houses knick-knacks that make you feel like you’re in the 1920s. Even the bathrooms are luxurious and velvety, and the wallpaper of vintage faces encourages you to leave your lip print or signature like other past guests. Although you don’t need a reservation or passcode at the moment, you’ll need to follow their social media breadcrumb trail to find out when they’re having their next burlesque show.

The restaurant inside the tiny hotel room

Imagine entering a typical hotel, riding up the elevator to the highest floor, following the long corridor to a room at the very end of the hall, opening the door, and discovering that one of the hotel suites has been transformed into a speakeasy straight out of the history books. This may sound like fantasy, but one hotel chain made it a reality, and it’s quite the ride.

It’s a very secretive process to gain access to this exclusive experience. Booked months out, a reservation is a must. And a reservation doesn’t even give you an address, only an area and a time to show up. An hour before on the day, guests receive the exact location as well as a phrase to tell the lobby desk attendant. You can’t get your key card until it’s exactly your reservation time – not a minute earlier.

Your key card opens the hotel room door, and immediately guests are transported to the 1920s. All of the walls and ceiling are covered in dark fabric, and a bar at the back houses a suspender-clad bartender ready to take care of the 10 to 12 guests that can fit inside. The velvet furniture and music add to the romantic vibe, and the menu boasts food fit for a king. A two-hour window is all you have to enjoy this extremely personal experience, but the memories made will last a lifetime.

Give guests an experience they’ll never forget

These places have a loyal following of patrons that keep coming back, and they all have one thing in common: They are fun! Other restaurants and hotels can do this, too. Utilize space in the most extravagant ways; provide more ways for guests to let loose and spend more money while having a great time.

If done right, a speakeasy can bring a huge return on investment.

Not ready to open a speakeasy of your own? Consider bringing in business to your existing operation during closing times:

  • Create themed cocktails and menu items with ingredients already on hand.
  • Hire performers and get guests excited about spending time at your business.
  • Decorate to set the mood while paying attention to the smallest of details.

There are so many ways to make the guest experience a special one.

Life can be overwhelming, and people are looking for an escape now more than ever. By elevating the employees’ involvement in the fun, it helps guests enjoy their time and also helps staff enjoy and invest in their jobs. With a few adjustments, anyone can create a not-so-secret atmosphere that guests will do anything to get a taste of.