Passwords. Special door knocks. Limited seating. There’s something alluring about finding mysterious, hidden bars and secret watering holes. If you’re in the mood to sip on fancy cocktails in an intimate setting, search out these speakeasies and other hard-to-find bars in DC.
Occupying the former Livingsocial office space on F Street, Brick and Mortar is a “speakeasy like bar devoted to pre-Prohibition and original cocktails.” Enter through the building’s front door and walk down the stairs to the back bar where you’ll find an impressive line-up of drinks including a Rosemary Sour and a Pineapple Pisco Daiquiri. Come for happy hour from 4:30–6:30 PM where a selection of cocktails and mixed drinks are just $7. (918 F St., NW; 202-510-9917)
Tucked away a block from the Verizon Center, Denson is hidden among one of the livelier and heavily-trafficked neighborhoods, hidden in plain sight. Take the stairs down a level from Fuel Pizza and enter a scene out of the Prohibition Era. The cozy bar is limited in seating, adding to the element of exclusivity. Grab a booth or a spot at the bar and check out the Classic Cocktails menu with the French 75 and the New York Sour. Stop in for happy hour Monday–Friday, 4:30–7 PM and enjoy discounted drinks and oysters. (600 F St., NW; 202-499-5018)
Located in the basement of Jack Rose, this craft cocktail bar can accommodate up to 20 people and is reservation-only on Fridays and Saturdays. There are three seating times available and they operate on a text message system to gain entry. Grab a business card at Jack Rose’s bar and text or call the number to complete your reservation….and upon arrival, you’ll enter through a code locked door. Tuesdays through Thursdays are first come, first served from 7 PM to close. (2007 18th St., NW; 202-607-1572)
Head to Capitol Hill, search for an unmarked door, and enter into a 1920’s Prohibition speakeasy. The dark and intimate setting is the perfect place for a date or post-dinner drinks. Ask for the cocktail tasting menu which comes with four drinks for $35 or just tell the bartender your favorite spirit for a specifically crafted drink. (212 7th St., SE; 202-627-0994)
You’ll find PX on King Street, right above Eamonn’s. If the blue light is on outside, ring the bell and proceed up the dimly lit staircase. Walk-ins can grab one of the eight bar seats, reservations are otherwise needed to snag one of the tables. Sip on an Old Fashioned and take in the intimate scene, courtesy of flickering candles and hushed conversations. (728 King St., Alexandria)
From Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn, comes The Sheppard, a speakeasy smack dab in Dupont Circle, only if you know where to look. Search for a green light on the building’s exterior and take the elevator to the second floor where you’ll enter a space decked out in dark velvet and dim lighting. Snacks are scarce, but let’s be honest, you’re here to drink not eat. Try the daily punch
, order from the limited cocktail menu, or ask the bartender to whip something up based on your liquor of choice. (1337 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-744-4253)
The newest hideaway bar to DC’s scene, The Speak brands itself as an “unpretentious speakeasy” with no passwords or reservations required. Lit with candles and Edison bulbs, head to the bar to sample cocktails from The Staples menu which includes an Aviation, Negroni and Moscow Mule or be adventurous and ask for something off The Experimental list, which rotates each week. (1413 K St., NW)
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